Jon M Chu, the director of Crazy Rich Asians, has hit out at a Twitter casting scam involving the sequels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.
Chu came across a Twitter user named Alan Baltes, claiming to be a casting associate, who’s looking for Asian actors — ages 20-40 — to be in the two follow-ups to the 2018 rom-com. The talents will go through “live Zoom auditions” and they have to pay Baltes a US$99 (S$140) “submission fee” to be considered for the roles.
Speaking to Variety, Chu said, “I kept reading it, and when it said ‘99 dollars,’ I was like, ‘This is f***ed up’. There’s so many scams like that in LA anyway and to actually target, specifically, Asian actors, was very frustrating.”
He added, “Asian American actors finally get the opportunity or the hope that there are roles and parts out there. People have this light inside of them to pursue this dream that they never thought was possible before, and to take advantage of that and know that you can take $99 for a fake audition is just disgusting.
“To put on top of that this time, when we’re being othered and we’re being attacked on the streets, is even more disgusting.”
The director alerted Warner Bros’ legal department of the bogus casting call. He also posted his own reaction to Baltes’ tweet, but was blocked by him.
Baltes, a small bit actor who has appeared on Lost and Desperate Housewives (per IMDB), protested his innocence to Variety. In an e-mail response, Batles said, “Someone sent me the information and was misrepresenting himself as being with casting. The person is no longer in contact with me after I enquired further. They were attempting to get me to send them money for casting calls.”
Who’s “that person”? Baltes said, “I no longer have the information as it was on my Twitter and my account was deleted.”
Apparently, Baltes has been involved in a similar situation before. In 2018, he solicited money from talent auditioning for Jurassic World: Dominion. When told about the notice, that movie’s director Colin Trevorrow tweeted, “Anyone who requests money for an audition isn’t on the level.”
The Variety report also said that Chu has yet to start work on the Crazy Rich Asians sequels. “We’re so far from it,” said Chu, whose next movie is the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights, which is slated to open in June 2021. He recently directed two episodes of the Apple TV+ series Home Before Dark, which he also served as EP.
“We don’t have a casting director,” Chu added. “We have never said, ‘Hey, let’s look at people who are out there.’ We’ve done zero. We don’t even have a script.”
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos