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Anticipated late summer movies: ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ ‘First Man,’ ‘Life Itself’

A look into three buzzed-about movies premiering soon

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Crazy Rich Asians”

Based on a novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, the romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” is set to premiere on Aug. 15. The novel has garnered critical acclaim in the five years since its release, making the movie adaptation one of the most anticipated of the summer.

“Crazy Rich Asians” centers around an unassuming Chinese-American woman, Rachel Chu, who accompanies her boyfriend, Nick Young, to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Upon arriving, Rachel is surprised to discover Nick comes from one of the wealthiest families in the continent and is also one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. The main conflict of the story revolves around Rachel and Nick’s controlling mother, Eleanor, who disapproves of Rachel’s simple lifestyle and attempts to drive the couple apart.

As one of the first American films to feature an all-Asian cast, the movie is a major step in the right direction in terms of increasing diversity in Hollywood. The director of the movie, Jon M. Chu, and one of the two screenwriters, Adele Lim, are also of Asian descent. Kwan, the novel’s author, is the film’s executive producer.

Due to the shortage of roles for Asian-American actors, director Chu said in an interview with Buzzfeed that he struggled to attract high-profile cast members for the film. In fact, to have a wider range of auditions, he posted an open casting call online, inviting any Asian-American actors interested in the film to upload their audition tapes to Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #CrazyRichAsiansCasting.

“I know how much undiscovered talent there is in the world, so we are shouting out to all you aspiring actors and cool personalities with hidden talents,” Chu said in the video.

The movie stars newcomer Henry Golding as Nick Young and Constance Wu, from the TV show “Fresh Off the Boat,” as Rachel. Familiar faces in the supporting cast include Awkwafina (“Ocean’s 8”) as Rachel’s college friend, Goh Peik Lin and Ken Jeong (“Dr. Ken”) as Lin’s father.  

 

“First Man”

Slated to premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 29, the biographical drama “First Man” depicts astronaut Neil Armstrong’s journey toward becoming the first man to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. The movie stars Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, Claire Foy as Armstrong’s first wife, Janet and Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon and Apollo 11’s pilot. The film is directed by Damien Chazelle, whose previous work with Gosling “La La Land” earned him the Academy Award for Best Director.

The film is based on the biography “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong” by James R. Hansen. Universal Pictures bought the film rights to the book in 2015. Production began Oct. 2017 and wrapped up this February.

As Chazelle expressed in a podcast interview with Variety, the movie aims to increase appreciation for the harrowing space mission, which he believes people often take for granted. Indeed, many of the YouTube comments on the trailer contend that the moon landing was staged by the U.S. government and never actually happened.

“You know that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, you see the picture, it’s all very gleaming and you see the American flag and you feel proud, and that’s kind of it,” Chapelle said. “But the challenge or the hope with this would be to try to play a little bit of a rewind and put you in a mindset where [the event] hasn’t happened yet, and it’s the most insane thing that a group has ever come together to do.”

The movie is scheduled to release to audiences in the United States on Oct. 12.

 

Life Itself”

Premiering Sept. 21, romantic drama “Life Itselffollows a young couple, Abby and Will, as their college romance blossoms into marriage and eventually the birth of their child. The twists and turns of their relationship cause a butterfly effect that echoes through time, affecting the lives of people in different generations and places. The setting alternates between the bustling streets of New York and the calm countryside of Spain.

The movie is directed by Dan Fogelman, the creator of the hit NBC show “This is Us” and writer of rom-com “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Amazon Studios will distribute the film.

Considering the second season of “This is Us” wrapped up in March, the film offers Fogelman’s dedicated viewers something else to look forward to before the start of season three on Sept. 25.

While the trailer leaves the details of the plot relatively ambiguous, it promises an emotional journey that will induce both laughter and tears, an experience that fans of Fogelman’s work are certainly familiar with.

The film’s ensemble cast includes Olivia Wilde as Abby, Oscar Isaac as Will, Laia Costa, Olivia Cooke, Mandy Patinkin and Annette Benning.

 

Contact Shreya Hambir at shreyahambir ‘at’ gmail.com.

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