Constance Wu would refuse a ‘Star Wars’ role to avoid being ‘stuck in a long contract’

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Constance Wu was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical category. She is the first Asian woman to be nominated in a lead category in 44 years at the Globes. It’s a big deal. She knows it’s a big deal. Just after the GG nominations came out, she told Vulture:

“I feel glad this happened, and I feel hopeful that this will start the conversation on why it’s important to have Asian experiences centered in and leading stories. Sure, we’ve had a few nominations for supporting actors, which is, like, phenomenal. But they’re always supporting another culture’s story for the most part. [This] says that no, not only are you just a supporting person of somebody else’s culture, but your culture is something that we are interested in exploring and stories we’re interested in hearing. We talked about how some Asian actors think that progress will be when you take a role where race is irrelevant. And I think what’s important about this is, we’re saying not only is Asianness something we don’t want to neutralize, we want to celebrate it. It’s something we are proud of. It is something that has formed us as people. And to grow up as an Asian in a culture where you’re not the dominant culture, that affects character; there’s no way that doesn’t affect character.

[From Vulture]

I’ve talked before about my concerns that there will be some kind of dumb backlash on Crazy Rich Asians and the stars of the film because they aren’t “all Asian things to all Asian people.” Because there’s so little representation of Asian stories, Asian-American stories, Asian-diaspora stories, when there is one film or one actor out there getting recognition, people get mad if the film or person doesn’t represent all things to their community.

I’m still concerned about all that, but I don’t think Constance is as worried about it – when she did the “Actors on Actors” series with Felicity Jones, Felicity told her that she should join the Star Wars universe – yet another chance to provide Asian representation in another big franchise, right? Except Constance has no interest:

When Felicity Jones tells Constance Wu that “we would love to have you” in future “Star Wars” films, Wu doesn’t immediately jump at the chance to join the sci-fi empire. Although she loves the movies, Wu says she doesn’t want to be “stuck in a long contract” for multiple installments, especially given that she has starred in ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” for five years.

“I want to take roles that challenge me in different ways every year,” she says during Variety’s Actors on Actors series. “I’m ready for something new, so thinking about that makes me feel like it’s golden shackles.”

[From Variety]

It would be interesting to see Constance in a Star Wars franchise…but I totally understand her reasoning too. Best case scenario is that she would be able to come in for a month and film her whole part and then spend a few months promoting it. But of course the Star Wars films don’t work like that – you basically have to clear your schedule for a year, and there’s no guarantee that your character won’t be edited to hell in some post-production hellscape, and then you’re stuck in a contract for five more films. Why does ANY actor agree to Star Wars?

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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16 Responses to “Constance Wu would refuse a ‘Star Wars’ role to avoid being ‘stuck in a long contract’”

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  1. Mia4s says:

    “Why does ANY actor agree to Star Wars?”

    For the same reason they agree to Marvel, DC, etc. The same reason Michelle Williams did Venom. It ups your exposure so it’s easier to get your smaller projects funded. If all goes well you have a billion dollar hit on your CV. Financers do care about that. Plus the money is good, not necessarily great, but with bonuses and ancillaries? It’s pretty damn good.

    I respect Constance’s reasoning…but her agent and manager won’t! 😂

    • oliphant says:

      LOL exactly- and no-ones asking her to be in Star wars so it works out well :)

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Jackie Chan is on record saying that he did all the HW blockbuster type films purely for the money which he used to fund his passion projects back in HK. There are other big names who have done the same.

    • eto says:

      I mean, this is assuming she doesn’t have one of the countless nothingburger roles. When you look at all the promotion actors have to do for a small part like Lupita’s (!), where there was very little acting needed, I don’t know if it would make sense. Especially since they made a huge deal about Lupita being the first black woman to speak in a SW film and…she was a frog with a bit part.

      Let’s be real, all of the recent movies have featured a white British leading lady with brunette hair, so she’d definitely not be a major player.

      • Mia4s says:

        Yeah that’s a fair point. Lupita’s role did absolutely nothing for her (it was decent in Force Awakens and TERRIBLE in Last Jedi). Her boost was all Black Panther. Also Gwendoline Christie did a ridiculous amount of press for a (sadly) nothing role.

        Now it has been argued that even just being associated with the PR surrounding big franchises is good business. I’m really not sure that’s the case though. The actual main characters see a boost, sure, but that can also go very, very wrong. Look at poor Alden whatshisface who played young Han Solo. That REALLY didn’t work out!

      • eto says:

        Oh poor Alden! I don’t know his work but he got thrown way under the bus when it might have been the directors/producers that tanked the film :/

  2. laulau says:

    I wish more talented actors would go the same way. These big budget hits rarely need real acting talent (Heath Ledger being a great exception). I get it probably helps them be able to take other things though and I’d rather they do this than shill for some slavery-adjacent makeup company.

  3. lucy2 says:

    It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a long contract – Felicity herself is an example of being in one of the movies and then done. Laura Dern did the same. Constance could definitely do a smaller character or a stand alone film.
    But if she’s not interested in that type of role, that’s fine, and I hope she finds some other good ones too.

    • Thaisajs says:

      Exactly. I find it ironic she’d say this to Felicity Jones, who proved that you can make a huge impact with just one Star Wars movie. (Also, Laura Dern — I wish she’d had a longer run. So fab.)

      • Mia4s says:

        I actually found Felicity’s comments interesting and sort of…open ended? I wonder if there’s some talk of using her character in a limited prequel series, similar to what they’re doing with Diego Luna. I will say giving Luna’s character a series makes the most sense to me (ties to original rebels, droid sidekick, a spy so he can pop up anywhere) but I could see that like with Marvel they could want multiple series. Hmmmm….

  4. Case says:

    Big movie franchises can empower lesser-known actors to work on passion projects after/in between films. Adam Driver, for instance, has been in several other, more artistic projects in the past few years in between Star Wars films. It doesn’t mean you can’t work on other projects.

    I respect her approach, but I genuinely see nothing wrong with actors working on big budget films. As others have mentioned, Felicity Jones was only in one Star Wars film that IMO was one of the best in the franchise.

  5. Harryg says:

    Okay, haha!
    Well, I myself would refuse if See’s Candies offered me ten thousand dark chocolate gift boxes, because it would take too long to eat it all. Would totally say no.

  6. mtam says:

    I understand her reasoning, but i bet most actors, specially poc ones who aren’t able to find as many opportunities, would dream of being in a long term contract, it usually guarantees higher pay, higher-demand and profile, and that can turn into more work, sponsorships/campaigns, opportunities for passion projects, and without the worry of trying to hustle for work to just survive as an actor. If she’s in the position to not have to worry about that, that’s great, good for her, but to not understand why other if not most actors would want it, is very short-sighted.

  7. Corporatestepsister says:

    I’m kind of pissed off. She just got to be part of a movie that has been a huge hit, TONS of exposure, and she will be in two additional films since it is a trilogy. I am certain she has no business being snotty about big franchises since she’s part of one and second, this is something she should be grateful for, not snotty about. She has no business being all ‘artistic’ when she’s part of a franchise that has launched her to a much bigger audience and she will get better pay the next time she wants work, she will be able to cite a hit movie that has been a breakout role for her and I am dead certain she wouldn’t be getting this much coverage without her place in Crazy Rich Asians. I think in fact, this is a her ‘star wars’ breakout franchise and she is really pissing me off with her attitude.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I think it makes sense, though, that once you get attached to 1 long-term, multi-year, multi-film commitment that you might not want to jump into another one.

      • Corporatestepsister says:

        In that industry, just getting ONE job is against the odds. Getting a multi-year, multi-film commitment is a HUGE stroke of luck that most actors would kill for.