The Emerald Engagement Ring in "Crazy Rich Asians" Has a Surprising Backstory

The extravagant piece is actually part of actress Michelle Yeoh's personal collection.

michelle yeoh crazy rich asians
Photo: Michelle Yeoh via Instagram

Crazy Rich Asians costume designer Mary Vogt already revealed that the movie's budget was surprisingly low considering the film's premise. Nevertheless, the team managed to pull together a seriously luxurious wardrobe. That included the crystal-covered wedding dress, which the team designed themselves, and a giant emerald engagement ring, which came from an unexpected source.

In the movie, Nicholas Young (Henry Golding) proposes to love interest Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) twice. The second engagement is the "official" one, since it symbolizes Young's critical family's approval of Chu. That's because the second ring is his mother, Eleanor's. As it turns out, actress Michelle Yeoh (who plays Eleanor), had a big hand in what that ring looked like.

In an interview with Vulture, director Jon M. Chu revealed that the final piece wasn't the original prop choice. "We had a ring designed already," he explained, but Yeoh wasn't impressed. "Michelle was like, 'That cannot be the ring I wear,'" he shared. "I'm like, 'I know, I know. I'm so embarrassed by it, but we don't have the money.' She's like, 'I have a better ring than that.'" So, she lent the team an emerald and diamond accessory from her personal jewelry collection.

The ring wasn't the only thing Chu changed at the last minute. He also revealed how the film's second proposal scene wound up diverging from the original script. "In the script, they're actually sitting next to each other. [Rachel] sits down in coach and doesn't realize that [Nick is] sitting right next to her. He puts down a paper, and he's just there," Chu explained. "I was like, this is problematic. I do not want another talking scene. We need energy, I need movement." So, he asked Golding to improvise and walk down the plane's aisle instead.

"He didn't think about the lines too much. The only direction was, 'You want to express how much you love her and that you dreamt of this moment the whole time,'" Chu recalled. According to him, Golding met the challenge. "It wasn't the perfect proposal, and that wasn't what was important; it was just those two, and that's what really helped with that scene," he shared. "You can have this picture-perfect proposal, but at the end of it, it's not any of that. It's what you feel, and the journey they went on."

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