A new report from The Hollywood Reporter states that Crazy Rich Asians co-writer Adele Lim has exited production of the sequel over a pay dispute. While director Jon M. Chu was hoping to keep the original creative team intact, Lim was dissatisfied with the disparity in payment between herself and co-writer Peter Chiarelli. As THR claims, Lim was offered $110,000 to Chiarelli’s $800,000-$1 million.
“Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions,” Lim said. She believes that women and people of color are typically regarded as “soy sauce” to most productions. That term refers to the practice of hiring people for cultural diversity instead of giving them creative control.
According to Warner Bros., the amount offered to Lim is an “industry-standard” range based on experience. The studio believes making an exception for Lim would set a “troubling precedent” in the business. WB chairman Toby Emmerich stands behind the decision, basically putting the final nail in the coffin for Lim.
Going by that logic, though, Lim should come out on top. While Chiarelli has been involved in more Hollywood productions, Lim has a background in television that includes Life on Mars, Private Practice, and One Tree Hill. Conversely, Chiarelli has only worked on a few films and has production credits on a few more.
Lim doesn’t seem upset at Chiarelli about the situation, though. “Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious,” she stated, “but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer. If I couldn’t get pay equity after CRA, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of color would never have been [hired for]. There’s no realistic way to achieve true equity that way.”
While Lim is out, there’s no rush to get the sequel finished to meet a deadline. Director Chu told THR, “There’s too much responsibility and too much precedent from the first movie that the last thing I want to do is just hit a date and release the movie. There’s still too much work to do. Our focus isn’t on the timeline, it’s on getting the story right.” Maybe Lim will be welcomed back with a deal that better compliments her importance to the project. That’d be a nice ending to this story.
‘Crazy Rich Asians‘ Co-Writer Exits Sequel Amid Pay Disparity Dispute (Exclusive) [The Hollywood Reporter]