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Gemma Chan: I could not get audition for leading role before Crazy Rich Asians

Gemma Chan said she could not even get an audition for a leading role before she appeared in Crazy Rich Asians (Ian West/PA)
Gemma Chan said she could not even get an audition for a leading role before she appeared in Crazy Rich Asians (Ian West/PA)

Humans star Gemma Chan has said she could not even get an audition for a leading role before she appeared in Crazy Rich Asians.

The actress, 38, who has since appeared in superhero blockbuster Captain Marvel and will soon be seen in Marvel’s Eternals, said starring in the hit romantic comedy marked a turning point in her career.

She told Elle UK magazine: “Because Crazy Rich Asians did so well internationally, I definitely felt a shift at that time.

Gemma Chan
Gemma Chan (ELLE UK/Marcin Kempski/PA)

“Like, on the Captain Marvel press tour, not being able to walk through an airport [in Singapore].

“But then again, I feel like things have settled a bit more now and the slight craziness of that time has gone away. I do feel like I can – touch wood – go about my life normally now.

“Before Crazy Rich Asians, I was not being considered for lead roles in feature films.

“There is a very select group of actors and actresses who are in that pool and I wouldn’t even get an audition, I was just not even in that conversation.

“Whereas now… Well, I’ve been told I am being talked about for certain things and then you may meet the director, or you at least get to have your shot. So that does feel a bit different.”

Chan, who will next be seen starring opposite Meryl Streep in Steven Soderbergh’s latest film Let Them All Talk, said she is doing her best to be optimistic about the future.

She said: ” I’ve definitely struggled. I’ve had times where I’ve felt quite hopeless about things.

“I think for most of us, we’ve realised how powerless we are as a whole in terms of the day-to-day governing of our [country].

Gemma Chan
Gemma Chan (Elle UK/ Marcin Kempski)

“There seems to no longer be any accountability for anyone. A complete lack of shame.

“So things that a minister or an adviser would have resigned for five, 10 years ago, there are now no repercussions, therefore no accountability.

“But, at the same time, I have hope – mainly because of the next generation.

“I think the generation below mine are much more politically aware than I was at that age, much more involved and active.”

The February issue of Elle UK is on sale from January 7.

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