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'Crazy Rich Asians' Co-writer Quits the Sequel Due to Pay Disparity Issue

The writer said she left the project after Warner Bros. offered her far less than her male co-writer.


The popular movie, Crazy Rich Asians have already bagged a sequel and the work on the same has already begun. However, the film has now run into a roadblock of sorts, co-writer Adele Lim has quit the project.

According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Co-writer Peter Chiarelli, as an experienced feature scribe who broke out with 2009's The Proposal, was to be paid a significantly higher fee than Lim, a veteran TV writer who never had penned a feature until Chu hired her to work on the screenplay. (Before Chu boarded the project, producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force already had enlisted Chiarelli to adapt Kevin Kwan's 2013 best-selling novel.)

"Being evaluated that way can't help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions," says Lim, who believes 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.

She declined to provide specific figures, but sources say that Warner Bros.' starting offers were $800,000 to $1 million for Chiarelli and $110,000-plus for Lim. Warners explained to Lim's reps that the quotes are industry-standard established ranges based on experience and that making an exception would set a troubling precedent in the business. The talks escalated to studio chairman Toby Emmerich, who backed his business affairs department's stance.

Complicating matters was the fact that Lim had already inked a first-position contract with Disney Animation for four years. But the Malaysian-born writer, who is penning its Southeast Asian mythology-influenced feature Raya and the Last Dragon, says that Disney would have been willing to do a "carve out" on her availability.

After Lim walked away from a deal last fall, Color Force spent about five months fielding other writers of Asian descent for the job. (Chu, who was prepping to shoot Warners' In the Heights, was not involved.) They came back to Lim in February with an offer closer to parity with Chiarelli, who had volunteered to split his fee with her, but Lim passed.


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