Kevin Kwan’s Sex and Vanity Teases Movie Adaptation—And We’re Beyond Thrilled

The Crazy Rich Asians author’s new novel is getting a film adaptation and we’re excited to be swept away into another dazzling tale of romance and identity

The worldwide phenomenon of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy is certainly unforgettable. Our memories of its critically-acclaimed movie are still fresh—remember the tear-jerker wedding scene that took our breaths away? How about the pivotal mahjong session between Rachel Chu and her fiancé’s mother, played by the iconic Michelle Yeoh? Looking into the lives of the rich and famous was undeniably a thrilling experience on the big screen. Two years after this pop culture phenomenon, Kevin Kwan is back with another captivating novel, Sex and Vanity, and we are excited that Sony Pictures and SK Global Entertainment acquired the rights to turn it into a film. Will it be another Crazy Rich Asians hit? Let’s find out.

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LEFT Kevin Kwan. (Photo by Raen Badua) RIGHT: Sex and Vanity book cover. (Photo from Goodreads)

Another glittering tale of love

Sex and Vanity is the first novel Kevin Kwan wrote after the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Since its release on June 30 this year, it was instantly a New York Times bestseller and Good Morning America even selected it for Book Club Pick for July. What makes it a special summer read? Based on E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View, Kwan’s novel follows the love story of Lucie Churchill, an Asian-American woman engaged to a man of her elite family’s dreams. In her visit to the gorgeous islands of Capri, she meets George Zhao. Bypassing her Asian side in favor of the white identity, she denies her feelings for him until she meets him again years later, only to struggle to keep her emotions in check.

Quite a cliche like any other romantic comedy but if we’re taken into the irresistible luxury of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, sumptuous summers in the Hamptons, and meet outrageous characters in high society, are we still complaining?

For fans of A Room with a View, don’t expect surprises with the plot. Sex and Vanity takes the romance, humor, and critique of the classic novel set in the Edwardian era of England, and turns it into a 21st-century retelling featuring a young woman from the upper strata. Of course, glamor, excess, and drama are ever-present in the story.

(Photo from Jing Daily)
Constance Wu as Rachel Chu and Henry Golding as Nick Young. (Photo from IMDB)

Onto the big screen

With so much buzz around the first work of Kwan, it’s not a surprise that studios clamored to bid for Sex and Vanity’s movie adaption. In the end, Sony Pictures and SK Global won the bidding war. Kwan will work once more with his friend, producer and SK Global president John Penotti, to bring the magic of the new novel to life.

Penotti’s Ivanhoe Pictures financed Crazy Rich Asians along with his producing partners so we might be getting some similarities to the 2018 box office hit. We might not have an all-Asian cast this time but expect to get an array of quirky characters that “will make your crazy families seem almost normal,” Kwan shares.

Like with the famous trilogy, the new novel explores cultural identity but this time, it explores the complexities that come with being biracial, including racism and exclusionary practices. So, we are getting that much-needed insight on love and self-acceptance here as well.

Sonoya Mizuno as Araminta Lee. (Photo from Brides)

As for the visuals, Kwan has an impeccable ability to illustrate scenes with such detail that had us gasping when we finally saw it on film. With three main lust-worthy settings, we are in for scene-after-scene of magnificent cinematography featuring ostentatious fashion, decadent food, and lots of traveling.

It is still too early in the production to add anything else, but we are certain that Sex and Vanity is on our list of ‘to watch out for’ this year.

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