Brenda Song Was "Not Asian Enough" for Crazy Rich Asians
The Suite Life didn't lead to Singapore.
One of TV's original crazy rich Asians didn't end up in the big-screen adaptation of Kevin Kwan's bestselling novel. In a new interview with Teen Vogue, Brenda Song, who starred as London Tipton in Disney Channel's Suite Life of Zach and Cody, explained that she wasn't even considered for any roles in the movie because the production company didn't think she was Asian enough.
Song says that she is a huge fan of Kwan's novels and that when she heard that they were being made into movies, she was excited to at least try and be a part of what would become a groundbreaking film. Not everyone felt that way, because she says that even though she had a comedic background and the film was casting an Asian actor for a comedic role, she wasn't ever considered.
"Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words," she said. "I've auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you're not going to let me do it? You're going to fault me for having worked my whole life? I was like, 'Where do I fit?'"
"A lot of people don't know this, but I never got to read for Crazy Rich Asians, ever," she said.
Song says that the casting snub made her re-evaluate her place in the entertainment industry. She took time off to travel and when she returned to Southern California, she ended up finding roles on Netflix's Secret Obsession and Hulu's Dollface.
"I got myself together and said, 'Brenda, there is only one you, and you can't change who you are. You can't change your past.’ I am so grateful for every job that I've done," she said. "All I can do is continue to put good auditions out there, do the best that I can — that's all I can ask for."
And Song isn't letting the snub get her down. She says that she knows what she can do and if she's being ignored or overlooked, she'll find the roles that she wants.
"It's taken me almost 10 years from Disney to really feel like I found a niche for myself," she said. "At 31 I finally feel like I know what my strengths are, and I'm trying to steer into that. The thing is, people are like, 'Well, we know you from comedy, so you have to do something to change everyone's minds.' I was like, 'Why? This is what I love to do.'"