“Crazy Rich Asians” Screenwriter Exits Sequel Over Equal Pay Dispute

"What I make shouldn't be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer," Adele Lim said

Michelle Yeah co-stars in “Crazy Rich Asians” (Sanja Bucko/Warner Bros.)
Michelle Yeah co-stars in “Crazy Rich Asians” (Sanja Bucko/Warner Bros.)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / September 4, 2019 3:01 pm

One of the screenwriters behind Crazy Rich Asians is no longer involved with the movie’s planned sequel after finding out that her co-writer was to be paid significantly more money for the project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Adele Lim was offered around $110,000 to write follow-up to the 2018 hit, while starting offers to Peter Chiarelli were reportedly between $800,000 and $1 million.

Lim, who was born in Malaysia, walked away from a deal last fall, and after producers spent five months looking for another writer of Asian descent to replace her, they came back to her with a new, larger offer in February. Chiarelli volunteered to split his fee with her, but she declined.

“Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “If I couldn’t get pay equity after CRA, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of color would never have been [hired for]. There’s no realistic way to achieve true equity that way.”

There’s no firm timeline for when the Crazy Rich Asians sequel is slated to hit the big screen, but shooting isn’t expected to start until the end of 2020 at the earliest.

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