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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Crazy Rich Asians restaged its ending at the last minute

Illustration for article titled Crazy Rich Asians restaged its ending at the last minute
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images)

This post discusses major plot points from Crazy Rich Asians.

Crazy Rich Asians ends in a familiar rom-com locale: the airplane. That’s where hunky Nick Young (Henry Golding) chases down Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) to re-propose to her, thus giving the movie its happy ending. Originally, however, that scene was staged fairly differently. As director Jon M. Chu explains to Vulture, “In the script, they’re actually sitting next to each other. [Rachel] sits down in coach and doesn’t realize that [Nick is] sitting right next to her. He puts down a paper, and he’s just there.” But at the last minute Chu realized that staging was too stilted. “I was like, this is problematic,” Chu recalls. “I do not want another talking scene. We need energy, I need movement.” So on the morning of the shoot, Chu decided to improvise and re-block the scene.


The current ending involves Nick moving down one airplane aisle while Rachel moves down the other. While attempting to reconcile with her, Nick also winds up helping various passengers store their luggage in the overhead bins. It’s a fun bit of physical comedy, and Chu called upon his dance movie background to get it right. As he tells Vulture, “It actually brought me back to Step Up 2: The Streets. The reason that dance at the end works is because we turn on the rain, and suddenly [the dancers are] not rehearsing anymore—they’re fighting to survive the elements.” Though Chu felt a lot of on-set pressure while changing the scene at the last minute, he ultimately thinks the more dynamic blocking allowed Golding to be more naturalistic and charismatic in his performance.

It actually wasn’t the first change for the proposal scene. The film’s romantic climax went through a whole bunch of different drafts involving much grander gestures—like Nick buying out the entire plane or surprising Rachel in New York with an orchestra and a helicopter. Ultimately, however, Chu and screenwriters Adele Lim and Peter Chiarelli decided to go with an ending that emphasized Nick’s humble demeanor rather than his wealthy heritage. Vulture has more details on all the logistics that went into restaging the proposal. Plus the article reveals the truly delightful fact that Michelle Yeoh lent her personal emerald and diamond ring to the film because the mock-up that production had made for her character’s crucial piece of jewelry was so ugly. You can read the full article over on Vulture.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Caroline Siede is a pop culture critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. She loves sci-fi, Jane Austen, and co-hosting the movie podcast, Role Calling.