By EAMON BARRETT March 16, 2019
The characters in the Warner Bros. box-office smash Crazy Rich Asians might be fabulously wealthy, but the film’s design department certainly wasn’t.
Nelson Coates speaks at the Brainstorm Design conference in Singapore on Mar. 7, 2019.
“You’re trying to figure out how to work within a box of money, time, and manpower, and to take that and, exponentially, bring it to a whole other level,” said Nelson Coates, the award-winning production designer for the film, at Fortune’s Brainstorm Design conference in Singapore, the city where the film is set.
Fans of the romantic comedy may remember the wedding scene where the two scions of wealthy families are married inside a church fitted to resemble an open-air Chinese park. The pews are hidden behind meter-high grass, the aisle is flooded with water, and the altar is a circular moon gate carved out of stone. In the film, that wedding is intended to cost $40 million. In reality, the film’s entire budget was just $30 million.