AceShowbiz - "Crazy Rich Asians" sequel is losing one of its key crew members. Adele Lim, who was hired by director Jon M. Chu to co-write last year's hit drama movie, has departed the project due to pay disparity dispute.
Opening up to The Hollywood Reporter about the issue, Lim says co-writer Peter Chiarelli, who was already hired by producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson before Chu boarded the project, was to be paid a significantly higher fee than her. Lim doesn't divulge the numbers, but sources say Warner Bros.' starting offers were $800,000 to $1 million for Chiarelli and $110,000-plus for Lim.
The studio explained to Lim's reps that the pay offered to her was in accordance with industry-standard established ranges based on experience and that making an exception would set a troubling precedent in the business. Lim is a veteran TV writer who had never penned a feature film until she worked on "Crazy Rich Asians", while Chiarelli is an experienced feature scribe with 2009's "The Proposal" as one of his prominent works.
Nevertheless, "being evaluated that way can't help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions," Lim tells the site. She's not pleased that women and people of color often are regarded as "soy sauce," "hired to sprinkle culturally specific details on a screenplay, rather than credited with the substantive work of crafting the story."
After the talk fell apart last fall, the production company Color Force came back to Lim in February with a higher offer closer to Chiarelli's. Chiarelli himself had volunteered to split his fee with Lim, but she turned it down.
"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. "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."
Representatives for Warner Bros. and Color Force have not commented on the issue. Lim is now working on Disney's animated movie "Raya and the Last Dragon", starring "Crazy Rich Asians" cast member Awkwafina.
Chiarelli is currently writing "Crazy Rich Asians" sequel with Chu and delivered the first draft of a 10-page treatment to the studio in late July. Warner Bros. plans to shoot two sequels back-to-back to accommodate its in-demand stars. The hope is to reunite all original stars of the first movie, including Henry Golding, Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan and Awkwafina.