It was originally called The Joy F*** Club.
“It was a loving tribute to Joy of Luck Club, which was a key moment for the writers and me,” explains tower of joy director Adele Lim of the seminal 1993 drama and the first major Hollywood film to feature an all-Asian cast. “We all fell in love with the title, but if you use it, apparently, you’re going to get sued by everyone.”
Still, this risky first version should give you a clue as to the tone of tower of joy. Written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao from a story devised with Lim, the film follows four Asian American friends (Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Sabrina Wu and Stephanie Hsu) on an escapade filled with sex, drugs and K-pop across China. to find Park’s attorney’s biological mother, Audrey, who was adopted by white parents in the United States
The film opens with a small child who gets blasted in the face after using a racial slur at a playground, and only gets more bawdy from there. There’s drugs hidden in orifices, throwing up projectiles, a threesome, and an unforgettable rendition of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s famously explicit hit “WAP.”
The title was changed, but the raunchy was never disputed. “When we wrote the movie, we wrote it for ourselves,” says Lim, the boobies rich asian And Raya and the last dragon scribe making her directorial debut with tower of joy. “We wrote a movie that we would have liked to have had in our twenties, and we expected at some point in the process that an adult would come along and say, ‘This is too much. You may need to cut the [raunchier elements] 50%… But nobody ever had that conversation with us. If anything, they said, “We like what you’re looking for. Lean harder into it. “(It must have helped that two of the film’s producers were Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who created their own art form from the R-rated comedy.)
There were times when the actors couldn’t believe what they were getting away with.
“The whole movie was pushing the envelope,” says Cola (good problem), who plays Lolo, an aspiring artist who specializes in sex-positive works. “There are so many jaw-dropping moments.”
“I didn’t think we were going far enough, I think we can push the limits further,” says Wu (Doogie Kamealoha, MD), who steals scenes as Lolo’s goofy cousin, Deadeye. “I want Deadeye to have group sex in the next one.”
It happened to Park (Emily in Paris), who filmed an extra-fluid threesome between her and two men: “My legs are apart, and there are cameras [over my shoulder] and two heads of men [in front of me]. I was like, ‘This is something I’ve never seen before.'”
“It’s a big ‘I made it’,” Cola cracks.
“Once we got on board, I feel like we were all trying to go harder and harder,” says Hsu, who was nominated for this year’s Oscars for Everything everywhere all at once who plays Kat, Audrey’s roommate who has since become a well-known actress. “To the point that sometimes even our creatives were like, ‘Maybe Sabrina shouldn’t try to put drugs in your ass. Maybe that’s too much.
Beyond its sometimes perverse entertainment value, tower of joy also earns kudos for scoring another big win in the long battle for greater Asian representation in Hollywood. While Joy of Luck Clubthe movie that inspired its original title, felt like a watershed moment, it never moved the dial (and as star Ming-Na Wen recently told us, was completely snubbed by all the major price discounts).
It would be another 15 years before the box office hits boobies rich asian felt like a real game-changer in 2018, followed by Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero movie (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and huge Oscar triumphs for Best Picture winners Parasite And Everything everywhere all at once.
“I think every scene in this movie is something audiences have never seen before,” Lim says. “I think what we are most proud of is seeing a messiest, most vulnerable group of friends having a ridiculous, giggling time.
“But with those Asian faces in the center, it’s something that people haven’t seen. But that should also feel true no matter who you are because, you know, when you’re with your friends, you don’t only talk about the nasty things you got up on Hinge or Bumble last week, we barely see those stories, and as Asian women, being able to do that in this movie was fantastic.
tower of joy opens Friday, July 7.
Watch the trailer: