Malaysian-born screenwriter Adele Lim, who co-wrote Crazy Rich Asians, has left the sequels to the last year’s smash hit romantic comedy over a pay disparity dispute.
According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, Lim was offered significantly lower pay compared to her co-writer Peter Chiarelli, as it was deemed that he had more experience than she did in writing feature films (Crazy Rich Asians was Lim’s first feature film, having writing mostly for television before that).
“Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions,” says Lim in the report.
Warner Bros apparently explained that her pay was based on ‘industry-standard established ranges based on experience”.
Chiarelli had offered to split his fee with Lim, which 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 says in the THR article.
“If I couldn’t get pay equity after Crazy Rich Asians, 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 colour would never have been (hired for). There’s no realistic way to achieve true equity that way.”
Lim is already working on other projects – she will be writing Disney’s upcoming South-East Asian-based animated feature, Raya And the Last Dragon, due out next year.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians made US$238.5mil (RM1bil) at the global box office, making stars out of its cast members, which included Malaysian actor Henry Golding, Fresh Off The Boat actress Constance Wu, and rapper Awkwafina.
Chu is planning to adapt both follow-ups to Kevin Kwan’s 2013 Crazy Rich Asians novel – China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems — back to back in order to accommodate his increasingly in-demand actors.
Golding stars in the upcoming rom-com Last Christmas with Emilia Clarke, while Wu is starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in the upcoming Hustlers.