John Chu has one of the best stories in Hollywood. The son of restaurant-owners from Northern California, Chu saw his career explode after his film Crazy Rich Asians became an unexpected blockbuster. Now in the process of finishing the Lin Manuel Miranda joint In the Heights, Chu is locked down in Los Angeles, enjoying some time with his two young kids.
Your family has operated Chef Chu’s, a Chinese restaurant south of San Francisco, for 50 years so you were born in California and raised here. Do you feel that you’re being treated differently now, with all this talk of a “Chinese virus?”
It’s definitely an issue in Los Angeles and in New York. I feel so disappointed that we’re in a time when we should be coming together and we have a language that puts anyone in danger. It’s disappointing. I know friends who have been harassed. I feel sad that instead of being united, it affects real human beings. Our community is strong and tough. We’ve been dealing with this for many years. There’s so much fear and yet we should fear this virus. I mean, it’s killing people.
You’ve had a crazy few years. You’ve been out of the house a lot and busy. Being home and seeing your wife do her thing, what have you learned about her and her day-to-day specifically?
I admire my wife’s consistency. I knew she had all that love in her but witnessing that and knowing how hard that is, is on a whole different level. A couple of months ago, I wanted her to read the trades and understand the entertainment business and the gossip so we could talk about it at night. She told me, ‘When would I do that, Jon?’ Now, I fully understand. Who has the time?