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Director Jon M. Chu Disgusted by ‘Loopy Rich Asians’ Casting Scam – Variety

Director Jon M. Chu stated whereas sequels to the hit romantic comedy “Loopy Rich Asians” are within the works, he and producers are usually not presently casting for “new lead roles,” as falsely indicated by a phony press launch and social media publish, which have since been taken down.

Chu took to his Twitter account on Wednesday to precise his dismay and disgust after a consumer named Alan Baltes — claiming to be an actor and casting affiliate — posted a discover saying that the supposed “Loopy Rich Asians” sequels, “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich Individuals Issues,” had been casting Asian actors, ages 20s by way of 40s, for lead roles through “stay Zoom auditions.” There was additionally a component listed for a Caucasian feminine between ages 25-35.

The publish requested that expertise who needed to be thought-about pay Baltes a $99 “submission price” through Google Pay or Venmo.

“I saved studying it, and when it stated ‘99 {dollars},’ I used to be like, ‘That is f—ed up,’” Chu advised Variety. “There’s so many scams like that in L.A. anyway and to really goal, particularly, Asian actors, was very irritating.”

Chu stated he was first alerted in regards to the discover when he was tagged in a tweet, after which he notified Twitter and flagged Warner Bros.’ authorized division. After posting his personal response, Chu stated he was promptly blocked by Baltes on Twitter. Baltes’ account has since been deactivated, as has a hyperlink to the unique press launch, of which Variety obtained a textual content copy.

The “Within the Heights” director referred to as the rip-off a “direct assault,” as Asian American actors have solely these days begun to see alternatives expanded for them on display screen.

“Asian American actors lastly get the chance or the hope that there are roles and elements on the market. Individuals have this mild within them to pursue this dream that they by no means thought was attainable earlier than, and to benefit from that and know that you may take $99 for a faux audition is simply disgusting,” stated Chu.

It additionally comes at a time when Asian communities all over the world are susceptible to racist assaults for misguided associations with the coronavirus pandemic.

“To placed on high of that this time, after we’re being othered and we’re being attacked on the streets, is much more disgusting,” Chu added.

Baltes, who has additionally referred to as himself a expertise agent, responded through e-mail to Variety’s request for remark, saying “somebody despatched me the data and was misrepresenting himself as being with casting. The individual is now not in touch with me after I inquired additional. They had been making an attempt to get me to ship them cash for casting calls.”

Baltes added that no cash had been paid and when requested who had equipped him with “false data,” stated, “I now not have the data because it was on my Twitter and my account was deleted.”

In accordance with an IMDb profile and SAG resume, Baltes has had small elements in movies and TV reveals, together with “Determined Housewives,” “Misplaced” and “Normal Hospital.”

It seems that this isn’t the primary time Baltes has solicited cash for “submitting” expertise for auditions in huge films. In 2018, Twitter customers flagged their issues to director Colin Trevorrow over an identical casting discover for “Jurassic World: Dominion,” the place Baltes requested for a $99 audition price.

Trevorrow tweeted in response, saying “anybody who requests cash for an audition isn’t on the extent.”

As for “Loopy Rich Asians,” Chu stated that whereas an open casting name could be a risk for the sequels (as he has achieved for his earlier movies), no location scouting has been carried out nor any pre-production.

“We’re so removed from it. We don’t have a casting director. We now have by no means stated, ‘Hey, let’s have a look at people who find themselves on the market.’ We’ve achieved zero,” he stated. “We don’t also have a script.”

Representatives for SAG-AFTRA and Warner Bros. didn’t reply to Variety’s request for remark on the time of publication.

Manori Ravindran contributed to this report.

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