Crazy Rich Asians co-screenwriter Adele Lim left the blockbuster’s forthcoming sequel after discovering she was making nearly eight to 10 times less than her fellow co-writer, Peter Chiarelli. To make matters worse, she was brought onto the project by director Jon M. Chu only after Chiarelli was hired to adapt Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel Crazy Rich Asians—and when she left, the studio spent five months searching for other Asian writers to fill her slot. Chu released a statement about the pay discrepancy on Twitter, expressing his support for Lim and discussing how salary negotiations went down without any real detail:
He writes, “For those of you who are asking, you bet your ass I stand with Adele!” adding that he is proud “she was able to stand up for her own measure of worth and walk away when she felt like she was being undervalued. I have experienced this several times in my years of making movies trying to keep a creative team together on budgets big and small.” Chu says that when he learned Lim was unhappy making eight to ten times less than Chiarelli, he worked with Warner Bros. studio “to ensure we got to a place of parity between the two writers at a significant number,” but at that point, “a lot of time had passed and she declined the offer.”
I would love to know the details of that parity—because if it is simply that Chiarelli offered her half of his salary, as reported last week, and not a real offer, well, who could blame her for walking? I do hope she responds again and this conversation continues.