“Crazy Rich Asians” To Become a Movie: Audrey’s Picks for a Dream Cast

Kevin Kwan’s debut novel is a ridiculous read — and we mean that in the best way. Set mainly in Singapore, the story follows the homecoming of Nicholas Young, who’s in town for the highly anticipated wedding of his best friend Colin Khoo to model/hotel heiress Araminta Lee. Nick is bringing his American girlfriend of two years, Rachel Chu, to the wedding. What Rachel doesn’t know is that Nick is a member of Singapore’s elite, and apparently everyone is out to end their relationship, from overbearing mothers to cutthroat exes.

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What really makes Crazy Rich Asians so fascinating is that the novel is a hilarious insight into the social intricacies and hierarchies of the Singaporean jet set — new money vs. old money, Mainland Chinese vs. Overseas Chinese, traditional Chinese culture vs. traditions that are actually remnants of colonial rule. Calling upon his own childhood experiences, Kwan weaves great (and greatly exaggerated) details into his story that makes for a read you can’t put down. It’s got all the makings for a very entertaining movie, so when we heard that the production team behind The Hunger Games films had nabbed the rights to this summer’s best guilty pleasure read, we just had to come up with our own dream cast. Hollywood, better take notes!

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Godfrey Gao as Nicholas Young, 32, a history professor at NYU with Cantonese pop idol looks (described as a Takeshi Kaneshiro lookalike) and heir to the Young fortune. Why: A ridiculously good-looking guy with international appeal is absolutely required for this leading man role, and the Taiwanese-Malaysian Canadian actor/model, touted as the world’s first Asian male supermodel, has been described as a younger Kaneshiro.

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Gemma Chan as Rachel Chu, Nick’s girlfriend, a 29-year-old down-to-earth, natural beauty, raised by a single mother, who is also an economics professor at NYU. Why: An up-and-comer in Hollywood, this Chinese British actor can pull off Rachel’s sensible, effortless and intelligent charm.

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Fan Bingbing as Astrid Leong, Nick’s cousin and closest confidante who also happens to be a double heiress and Singapore’s most sought after socialite. She’s married to Michael Teo. Why: The Chinese actress has the presence (and red carpet fashion cred) to play Singapore’s biggest style icon, oozing radiance every time she walks into a room.

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Daniel Wu as Michael Teo, a son of schoolteachers and a graduate of Caltech (he was a National Merit Scholar!), the co-founder of a start-up tech company happened to land Singapore’s most sought after socialite. Why: Michael is a straight-laced former Armed Forces Elite Commando who is facing an eventual meltdown because of his marriage into high society. A hunk on the verge of a breakdown? Wu’s got plenty of acting experience (and the good looks) to pull that off.

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Brenda Song as Peik Lin Goh, the youngest daughter of the new money Singaporean Goh family and Rachel’s close friend from Stanford. Why: Song can call upon her Disney days for the over-enthusiastic spunk it’ll take to play Peik Lin, one of Rachel’s few allies in Singapore.

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Wang Lee Hom as Colin Khoo, Nick’s best friend and heir to the Khoo Teck Fong fortune, one of the richest families in the world. Why: Wang’s recent roles have required a disguise — perfect for a man disguising his true feelings about his upcoming nuptials. (Basically, we wanna see the Taiwanese American singer/actor in a Hollywood film.)

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Angelababy as Araminta Lee, a luxury hotel heiress and supermodel who is engaged to Colin Khoo, and has a serious obsession with Astrid Leong and her couture wardrobe. Why: The Hong Kong-based Chinese actress/model has the young supermodel look down. We think she’ll be gorgeous as the society bride of the year.

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Liza Wang as Shang Su Yi, grandmother to Nicholas and matriarch of the Young family. She inherited the Shang fortune, lives in a Euro-style palace that doesn’t show up on Google Maps (complete with secret service Burmese guards). Why: She is Hong Kong’s biggest diva, famously known as a stage and television actress. Her larger than life personality is very fitting to play the matriarch of the Young family.

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Jamie Chung as Amanda Ling, a wannabe New York socialite who used to date Nick. Why: Chung is so gorgeous — and we’re sure she can do snarky well — so she’s perfect to play the posh and fashionable ex-girlfriend of a billionaire heir.

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Maggie Q as Francesca Shaw, who is still pining for Nick after a threesome with him and Amanda Ling one summer in Capri. Why: She’s the cattier of the two girls after Nick and we think Maggie can play one hell of an ice queen.

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Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Young, mother of Nicholas. Why: The Malaysian actress is well-known for playing strong leading women, but we think it’s about time she plays against type and takes on a challenge: playing the over-the-top, crazed mother who stops at nothing to end her son’s relationship with his Chinese American girlfriend.

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Joan Chen as Kerry Chu, Rachel’s mother who works in real estate and harbors a secret past. Why: Kerry is the hard-working, resilient one of the cast and Chen can capture that perfectly. Chen is also a scene-stealer no matter what role she’s in, which is perfect for Kerry’s dramatic reveal.

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Archie Kao as Edison Cheng, a successful private banker who is obsessed with being in the media spotlight. Why: Kao has a certain charisma that can get under your skin — in an effective way. We’re challenging him to play one loud, obnoxious and fame-whoring husband.

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Charlene Choi as Fiona Tung, who comes from a politically connected family and has three children with Eddie Cheng. Why: Charlene Choi possesses a calm demeanor as an actress that’s effective in quiet moments, which is perfect for the role of Fiona, the wife who remains silent to her husband’s wild antics.

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Edison Chen as Bernard Tai, the quintessential bad boy heir of Singapore. Why: Because Chen is the quintessential bad boy actor. It’d be fascinating to see him make his return to the silver screen playing someone just like himself.

Nichkhun Horvejkul

Nichkhun Horvejkul (of KPOP group 2PM) as Alistair Cheng, the younger, good-for-nothing brother of Eddie Cheng, with puppy-dog looks and who works in film production in Hong Kong. Why: The useless son with good looks? Thank goodness Nickhun is really pretty to look at.

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Clara Lee as Kitty Pong, a gold-digging TV actress from Hong Kong with a penchant for skimpy outfits and who has Alistair Cheng whipped. Why: She’s one of Korea’s hottest sex symbols — we’d love to see her play a tacky, money-hungry soap star that shocks everyone at every turn.

Haikus With Hotties: Godfrey Gao

When contributing editor Ada Tseng suggested exchanging poetry with Smoking Hot Asian Guys (SHAGs), we were skeptical. Turns out — pure genius. Here, model and actor Godfrey Gao (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones) gamely responds to our lyrical inquiries through Japanese haiku.

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How often do fans
Faint from Godfrey’s smile (or wink)
Be honest, OK? 

Godfrey:
People think I am
Sexy; Flattering, its true
But I’m just bashful.

Striving for beauty
Best regimen for Godfrey
Summed up in haiku? 

Godfrey:
Sweating on “THE” court,
B-ball is my game. Keeps my
Body in good shape.

Louis Vuitton man
How does Godfrey make purse look
So good. Confidence? 

Godfrey:
Never thought I’d be
Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane
Powerful warlock.

 

 This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

Summer 2013 | Pop-arazzi: Godfrey Gao

DEPT: Pop-arazzi
AUTHOR: Ada Tseng
ISSUE: Summer 2013
PHOTOS: Jetstar Entertainment

 

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“CANADIAN ACTOR AND MODEL GODFREY GAO TACKLES HIS FIRST ENGLISH LANGUAGE ROLE AS MAGNUS BANE, THE HIGH WARLOCK OF BROOKLYN, IN THIS SUMMER’S ADAPTATION OF THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS.”

In Asian TV dramas, the male protagonist is often a young, arrogant, rich kid who’s about to have his world turned upside down by the wholesome, down-to-earth female who finally makes him want to be a better person. To set this up, there’s often an obliga- tory scene where a crowd of girls lunges themselves at the leading man, causing your average feminist viewer to roll her eyes.

But when Godfrey Gao, dressed in an all-white suit, makes girls’ hearts go aflutter in the first episode of the 2010 Taiwanese drama Volleyball Lover, it seems quite realistic. Or perhaps, your eyes are too stunned to roll.

 

 

It doesn’t hurt that Gao’s athletic character, Bai Qian Rui, is not arrogant, but in fact kind of silly. In order to cheer up his best friend, he crouches his entire 6-foot-4-inch frame low to the ground and jumps up and down like a gorilla. “I think that character is closest to my personality,” says the Taiwanese- Malaysian Canadian, “because I can be quite goofy sometimes.”

Born in Taipei, Gao moved to Vancouver at age 9 and immediately noticed cultural differences. “I remember [Canadian] girls in school greeting friends or strangers with hugs, some- times even [taking] a running jump to give a hug,” says Gao, “whereas in Taiwan, girls were mostly shy, and if boys came up to talk to them, they’d run away and giggle from a healthy distance.”

As a child, Gao idolized Michael Jordan, and it was his dream to play basketball in the NBA. A skinny, lanky kid, Gao had his growth spurt between 9th and 10th grades, a period he re- members clearly because it resulted in him dunking a basketball for the first time. He still plays pick-up basketball weekly, and if he hadn’t become a model and actor, he says he would have loved to pursue a career in sports. “Perhaps I might’ve become Jeremy Lin!” he jokes.

At first, modeling and acting seemed out of reach. “Honestly, I didn’t think it would happen because cloth- ing-wise, nothing fits me in Asia,” says the 28-year-old. But then he earned his first acting job in 2006 in the Taiwanese drama The Kid from Heaven, in which he plays an American coming back to Taiwan to run a business. Likewise, Gao had just returned to Taiwan from Canada to give acting a shot.

While he worked hard to perfect his craft, Gao jokes that it was his facial hair that changed the course of his career. “I had a long summer vacation back in Vancouver, and for a while, I just didn’t shave,” remembers Gao. “When I re- turned to shoot another TV drama in Taiwan, my manager and the producers liked my facial hair and thought I looked more masculine. That’s when I shot Wanna Be a Tough Guy, where I played Tiger, and that image stuck. It was definitely a turning point.”

By 2011, he was not only a house- hold name in Taiwan, he was declared the “world’s first Asian male super- model” by The Guardian after being named the new face of Louis Vuitton — the first Asian model for the world’s most valuable luxury brand.

In another first, this year brings Gao’s first English-language role as the Indonesian half-demon warlock Mag- nus Bane in the Hollywood adaptation of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, in theaters August 23. On her Tumblr, Cassandra Clare, the author of the original young adult fantasy novels, wrote that after an exhaustive search through many hot Asian men, she’s confident that “our Magnus may be … THE HOTTEST MAN IN THE WORLD.” Expect a “warlock for the ages,” says Gao, whose character has a penchant for sparkly eyeliner. “It was magnificent! It was the first time I had glitter and nail polish applied on me.” The only downside, he recalls, was “the Magnus party scene where I was ‘sans pants’ in 0 to 3 degree Celsius weather.”

Godfrey Gao in glittery liner and without pants? “Expect a lot of fun,” says Gao. Indeed.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING 10 YEARS AGO?
“I had just graduated from high school and attended my first year of college where I was playing basketball for Capilano University.” — Godfrey Gao

Buy our 10th anniversary issue with Godfrey Gao here.

The Daily SHAG (Smoking Hot Asian Guy): Godfrey Gao for Esquire China

Godfrey Gao for Esquire China (2013).

Audrey readers, please welcome our new series, The Daily SHAG (Smoking Hot Asian Guy), our series on well, our favorite smoking hot Asian guys! We’re going to start giving love to our Asian counterparts because simply, there’s not enough love for them in this world.

 

Guess who Istagrammed some pics of his latest fashion editorial? Everyone’s favorite male Asian supermodel – Godfrey Gao – in the latest issue of Esquire China.

 

All we can say is….you’re welcome, ladies. See below for more images!

 

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The Daily SHAG | Godfrey Gao for GQ Taiwan March 2013

Oh. My. Goodness.

Just when we thought Godfrey Gao couldn’t get any more attractive, he goes and does a photoshoot for GQ Taiwan. He’s already one of our daily SHAGs, but we don’t mind putting up a picture of him again. Admit it, you don’t mind either. And what could possibly make this day better, you ask? Well, there’s also a video:

 

 

Need a picture for every day of the week? We felt the exact same way! Click on for more pictures of Godfrey Gao!

 

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