(CNN) – Constance Wu will soon grace the big screen as the lead in “Crazy Rich Asians,” the first major studio film centered on an Asian-American character’s story since “The Joy Luck Club,” and the significance of that is not lost on the “Fresh off the Boat” star.
“Before [‘Crazy Rich Asians’], I hadn’t even done a tiny part in a studio film,” she wrote in a message posted to Twitter. “I never dreamed I would get to star in one…because I had never seen that happen to someone who looked like me.”
Her starring role in “Crazy Rich Asians” “is changing that,” she wrote.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians” tells the story of an American woman (Wu) whose trip to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s (Henry Golding) family proves more complicated than she anticipated.
The film has been praised for lifting the visibility of Asian-American talent in Hollywood — both in front of and behind the camera — at a time when the group remains underrepresented.
USC’s Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative found that of the top 900 films made in 2016, 29.2% of all characters were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, “which is well below U.S. Census (38.7%),” one study found.
In addition, nearly two-thirds of the top 100 top films didn’t have an Asian female speaking character.
“Our amazing director Jon M. Chu says…this is more than a movie, it’s a movement. He is my hero, and he is leading the way,” Wu added. “I hope you help our movement.”