Who Inspired Crazy Rich Asians? Our Lips Are Sealed

Arts

August 6, 2018 | BY Hong Kong Tatler

Hong Kong's most powerful are all talking about the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians—and whether they inspired any of the characters

Five years after readers fell in love with heart-throb heir Nick Young, couture-clad fashionista Astrid Leong and a host of other characters in Kevin Kwan’s first novel, "Crazy Rich Asians", Warner Bros is bringing the romantic comedy to the big screen on August 23. 

With its irresistible mix of star-crossed lovers, family dramas and depictions of ostentatious wealth (think spas on private jets and plastic surgeons for pet fish), it’s no surprise that fans can’t wait to see the story brought to life on film.

See also: 10 Signs You're A Crazy Rich Asian

Kwan has previously admitted that he combed the pages of Asia’s Tatler titles for inspiration when writing the novel, so regular readers may find some characters reminiscent of the high-society personalities profiled in these pages—or possibly even themselves. 

For instance, who was the inspiration behind domineering matriarch Eleanor Young (played in the film by Michelle Yeoh)? 

See also: Kevin Kwan On How To Get Published

Did a real-life celebrity provide the idea for the character of Kitty Pong, a gold-digging social climber who manages to leave behind her lacklustre career as a soap-opera star and marry into one of Asia’s wealthiest families?

Our lips are sealed, but a quick look through our pages may reveal some answers.

Here's a piece of trivia: author Kevin Kwan approached Tatler 500 lister Michelle Ong, founder of Carnet Jewellery, to feature her bespoke pieces for the characters of Lisa Lu and Michelle Yeoh. Carnet is also mentioned in the book—no doubt with a clientele that may have even inspired some of Kwan's characters.

See also: 9 Hong Kong Families On Forbes Asia's Richest Families List 2017

Despite its focus on glitz and glamour, the film has already inspired several weighty think pieces by leading news organisations because it’s the first Hollywood film in more than a decade to feature an all-Asian cast (the most recent, Memoirs of a Geisha, came out in 2005).

A fun-filled romcom that’s also a step forward for diversity in the film industry? Now that’s a win.
 
Crazy Rich Asians opens in Hong Kong cinemas on August 23.

See also: 5 Exclusive Dating Apps For Millionaires

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