Hollywood has long struggled to hash out its diversity issues or lack thereof, but director Jon M. Chu told Cheddar that those that have smashed through the hiring ceilings at movie studios are working to keep them open for others.
"[Hollywood] is a network of ideas and ideologies that come together in this place to make stuff, and so I don't think there's an easy answer to 'Hey, it's changed now in Hollywood,'" Chu said. "But I do think that people are in positions now to make sure that the gates are more open, and it's not just one gate. It's thousands of gates."
Chu directed the 2018 blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians, based on a book of the same name written by Kevin Kwan, which was notable in Hollywood for featuring a cast made up almost entirely of those of Asian descent.
Nowadays, the decision to direct a film for Chu lies in how entertaining he believes the movie can be. His filmography also includes projects like Step Up 2: The Streets and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but for his upcoming project, In The Heights, an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's play, he explained the importance for him to be able to bring a story about first-generation immigrants to the big screen.
"I saw the Broadway show when I was making my first movie and I saw it in New York City and it moved me. I'm not from Washington Heights. I'm not from New York. I'm a California boy. I grew up in a Chinese restaurant with my family, basically," Chu said. "But the community of children of immigrants surrounded by their aunts and uncles who want the best for them, who work their butt off trying to take care of us, have hopes and dreams of themselves but also for us. And us trying to piece together our cultural identity crisis, and that each of us have different ways to deal with it. That really touched me."
With the success of films that touch on identity like Crazy Rich Asians, particularly at the box office, Chu said Hollywood also is feeling pressure from "activists and nonactivists" to continue releasing films that reflect society. He also pointed to the power of the dollar, showing studios the movie-goer support for the films they want to see.