UNLV alumna remaking popular films with all AAPI cast
A group of Asian American and Pacific Islander creatives is remaking the films and TV shows we grew up watching with an all AAPI cast and multiracial crew.
RecreAsian Productions grew out of the pandemic when a decrease in Hollywood productions made it even more difficult for actors and directors to find work.
Ruliko Cronin is the founder of RecreAsian Productions. She’s a graduate of UNLV’s theatre program, and was born and raised in Las Vegas.
We're trying to shatter the notion of being seen as revolutionary when we see Asian actors on screen or on stage ... I'm a person. I'm a human being.
In the AAPI community, it's always been a challenge. A recent study by USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found Asians and Pacific Islanders make up less than six percent of speaking roles. When you look at lead parts, the number drops to less than four percent. Cronin says,
I even had an incident where I was reading for a role, and they stopped me in the middle and said, 'You're great, but you're a little too Asian in the face,' which doesn't make sense to me. What does that even mean?
RecreAsian Productions filmed a scene from Mean Girls first. And now they're working on 1985's The Breakfast Club.
Fellow UNLV theatre graduate Isabella Rooks will make her directorial debut attempting to recreate the 1980s classic, and she will be doing it from a wheelchair.
In October 2018, the 26-year-old woke up one morning with shoulder and back pain. Within hours, she experienced “sudden onset paralysis.” In four years, Rooks went from making art in a hospital bed to directing a cast of her peers.
This is really just a return to what I love doing the most.
The production company will shoot The Breakfast Club at the end of May.
So far, Cronin has paid for all production costs, and the cast and crew donated their time and talent. RecreAsian is in the process of collecting donations for their nonprofit to buy better equipment and pay their cast and crew this time around.
Ruliko Cronin, founder and executive producer, RecreAsian Productions; Isabella Rooks, director, RecreAsian Productions