How Malaysia became a big part of 'Crazy Rich Asians'

PHOTO: Warner Bros

PETALING JAYA - Just how much of Malaysia became a part of Hollywood film Crazy Rich Asians? A lot.

Magen Appathurai, a producer at Biscuit Films, a Petaling Jaya-based company that offers production support services to foreign companies looking to film in Malaysia, shared the locations in Malaysia which served as backdrops for the much talked-about movie.

"The movie producer Tim Coddington called and showed me pictures of mansions in Thailand. He asked if I could find any locations like that in Malaysia?" Magen said when contacted by The Star.

Magen pitched Carcosa Seri Negara for the setting of the fictional Tyersall Park estate, where movie protagonist Nick's (Henry Golding) grandmother lives in a giant mansion.

He also explained how Malaysia would fit the Singaporean settings of Crazy Rich Asians better than Thailand.

"I said we had more in common with Singapore in terms of food, language and the way we looked," he said.

"It would make more sense to try and ­create Singapore in Malaysia."

Eventually, Magen convinced Coddington to forgo Thailand and film Crazy Rich Asians in Malaysia instead.

Apart from Carcosa Seri Negara, key locations in the movie include St Regis Kuala Lumpur (where character Astrid was introduced), Belanda house (scene for Eleanor's bible study group) in Kuala Lumpur, and the Cheong Fatt Sze mansion (mahjong showdown between Eleanor and Rachel) in Penang.

In the film, there were scenes that took place in New York and London that were actually all filmed in Malaysia too!

"The opening hotel scene in London? That was filmed at E&O Hotel in Penang. The New York restaurant scene was actually filmed at BLVD House, Naza Towers at Platinum Park in KL.

"And the scene where Rachel is teaching her students in a university? That was in an auditorium in Putrajaya," Magen shared.

Magen also revealed that the inside of an AirAsia plane in KLIA2 was used for a scene in the film.

"Do you remember this scene where all the socialites are waiting for their private jet? That was at an airport hangar in Subang Jaya," he added.

A set for a luxurious first-class airline cabin was built for the film at the Malaysia International Exhibition & Convention Centre (MIECC) in Serdang, Selangor.

Singapore actors Fiona Xie, Pierre Png work the Crazy Rich Asians red carpet in LA

A bachelor party scene which took place on a ship in the movie was also filmed in MIECC.

Parts of Langkawi in Kedah, especially the Four Seasons Hotel, were the setting for a private island getaway.

There is a scene that took place in Rawa Island that was also filmed in Langkawi.

He shared that the production company spent more than five weeks filming in Malaysia and about 120 local crew members were involved in the process.

Biscuit Films also engaged local casting director Jerrica Lai to provide acting talents for Crazy Rich Asians.

"That's how the likes of Carmen Soo (who played a socialite) and Calvin Wong (the geeky brother to Peik Lin played by Awkwafina) became a part of the movie," he said.

Stars of Crazy Rich Asians shine bright at Singapore premiere

  • Actor Henry Golding (R) and his wife Liv Lo (L) arrive at the film premiere of "Crazy Rich Asians" at the Capitol Theatre in Singapore on August 21, 2018.
  • Hundreds turned up at the Capitol Theatre on Tuesday night (Aug 21) to greet the stars of the film Crazy Rich Asians at the Singapore premiere of the surprise Hollywood hit.
  • The main attraction was lead actor Malaysian-British actor Henry Golding, who plays Nick Young, the heir to a fortune amassed by Singapore's wealthiest family.
  • He was joined on the carpet by his wife, actress and fitness instructor Liv Lo.
  • Also present were Singapore actors Pierre Png, Tan Kheng Hua, Koh Chieng Mun, Fiona Xie, Selena Tan, Janice Koh, Amy Cheng and Constance Lau, as well as photographer Russel Wong and others.
  • Pierre Png and wife Andrea D'cruz
  • Director John M. Chu (R) and his wife Kristin Hodge
  • Fiona Xie, who plays Kitty Pong in the film.
  • Actor Chris Pang walks the emerald carpet in Singapore.
  • The film's weekend takings of over US$35 million (S$47.9 million) in the United States has far exceeded expectations for the romantic comedy, with many seeing its success as a sign that audiences are hungry for fun love stories, and will welcome films that feature non-whites in leading roles.
  • The film, based on the 2013 bestseller of the same name by novelist Kevin Kwan, opens in theatres in Singapore on Aug 22.
  • Malaysian actress Carmen Soo.
  • Singapore actress Koh Chieng Mun.
  • Constance Lau
  • Janice Koh
  • Selena Tan
  • Producer John Penotti and guests pose at the film premiere of "Crazy Rich Asians"

Magen said it felt good to see how Malaysia was featured in the movie.

"I hope that more support can be given to help us bring in more foreign productions into the country. It's a positive thing because we can create more job opportunities, and get investments to improve facilities," he said.

"Malaysia has so much to offer as a film location, and we need to let more people be aware of that."