The Farewell director Lulu Wang on casting Awkwafina

The Farewell director Lulu Wang on casting Awkwafina
Photo: Variety

The Farewell is an emotionally compelling break-out hit from director Lulu Wang. The film broke Avengers: Endgame’s box office record for per-screen average following its Sundance Festival debut. Aside from widely positive critical reception, the film also raked in $351,330 during its limited release on July 12 with an average of $87,833 from each of four theater locations.

Following the success of the film, Lulu Wang reveals that she was surprised Awkwafina “had that in her” with regards to the Queens rapper’s dramatic turn.

“She sent an audition tape in and when I saw the audition tape, I was blown away. I didn’t know she had that in her,” the director told CBS This Morning in a televised interview.

“When I first met with her, I was pretty surprised that she wanted to do this. I thought, ‘you’re a rapper from Queens, why did this resonate with you?’ She said she was raised by her Chinese grandmother because her mother passed away when she was 4. And just really connected with the relationship between Billi and her grandmother.”

The actress and rapper is known for her upbeat and funny roles in Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. Wang also detailed Awkwafina’s character in the film.

“Awkwafina’s character, Billi, as an American, she very much believes in truth and freedom as the most important values, and her Chinese family says, well, are those really good values if it doesn’t really serve the person you’re telling the truth to? If it doesn’t serve the family? It’s also this sense of duty that if she tells the grandmother the truth, she’s not the person who’s going to be around to deal with the results of that truth being told,” Wang said.