‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Co-Writer Adele Lim Leaves Project Over Pay Disparity
“Crazy Rich Asians” co-writer Adele Lim has ditched the sequel’s writing team after being offered significantly less compensation than her male co-writer Peter Chiarelli.
Lim did not disclose specific figures she was offered, but a source told the Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros. offered her somewhere between $600,000 to $900,000 less than Chiarelli, offering her around $110,000 and Chiarelli between $800,000 to $1 million.
The studio claimed that the pay disparity was the industry standard based on her experience level, refusing to make an exception to avoid shaking up the business standard.
Lim is an experienced TV writer, but “Crazy Rich Asians” was her first time writing for a feature film, while co-writer Chiarelli has a 10-year history in feature writing.
She described being shortchanged on the project as a disappointment, saying she felt her contributions to the film were not fully valued.
Lim also said that women and people of color in the industry are used as “soy sauce,” meaning they’re hired to add diversity to a project, often not being treated as equal to their white, male counterparts.
She had passed on a deal with production studio Color Force last fall for “Crazy Rich Asians,” but was offered closer to parity with Chiarelli in February, which she also denied.
Chiarelli had offered to split his fee with her to equal the difference, which Lim described as kind on his part. However, she did not feel comfortable being dependent on another writer and decided to leave the project.
Lim currently has a four-year contract with Disney, currently writing their upcoming animated fantasy film “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
“Crazy Rich Asians,” a film based on the book series by Kevin Kwan, busted the box office, debuting at number one in 2018 and making $34 million in its first week alone. The film was regarded as making meaningful strides toward Asian representation in media.
Chiarelli is currently writing the sequel film alongside director Jon M. Chu.