Making a Scene by Constance Wu: 7 Shocking Stories
Constance Wu has spent her entire life creating scenes. The actress, who starred in the box office sensation Crazy Rich Asians and later shot to stardom in Hustlers, found herself in the spotlight for the first time when she posted a string of vehement tweets in response to the unexpected season-six renewal of Fresh Off the Boat on ABC, the programme that first made her famous. Her actions led to her being labelled as a diva, and now, more than three years later, she’s prepared to explain them in her new memoir, Making a Scene, which is out today. Wu recounts some of the most trying and terrifying periods in her life throughout the course of the book, sometimes in the guise of a memoir and other times in the shape of screenplays that tell her life’s tale. Making a Scene was written by Wu to provide context for her “huge feelings,” which included some early humiliations, subsequent traumas, and self-analysis. Seven stories that sum it up are provided below.
when she was charged with plagiarism
Making a Scene describes some of Wu’s most trying and distressing experiences, but she claims that the plagiarism accusation she received in eighth grade is the one that “hurts the most.” When the time came to turn in their papers, Wu’s opening paragraph on Beethoven was thought to be too good by Wu’s teacher, who was described as having “the ballsy attitude of Elaine Stritch and the self-satisfied charm of Fran Drescher.” Wu asserts that her teacher informed her, “You are not good enough to have written this.” The teacher sought input from Wu’s other instructors when she was unable to locate evidence of the plagiarism. Notably, the theatre teacher was the only one to say he thought she could. Wu explains, “So that’s why I became an actor.” Naturally, I did.
She was forced to confront Asian prejudices through Fresh Off the Boat.
Wu, the daughter of two Taiwanese immigrants, was raised in a suburb of Virginia. She claims that despite being one of the few Asians in her community, she didn’t always make a big deal out of being Asian and disliked Asian characters on television who talked with accents. It was similar to the scene in the movie Jurassic Park where it was discovered that a T. rex cannot perceive a stationary object. “Whenever an Asian on television drew attention to the fact that they were Asian, it was as if they were scurrying around in front of a T. rex. Speak up! Leave now! At them, I longed to scream. Stop giving us a bad name. Wu wasn’t able to accept her identity until she was cast on Fresh Off the Boat as Jessica Huang, a Taiwanese mother with an accent. The author claims that “the softest area of all was her Asian-ness – her demeanour, her morals, and her accent.” She was teasing the T. rex rather than trying to avoid it.
Wu came to love the character, not in spite of but precisely because of her “stereotypical” traits. I don’t want to suppress their voices or their experiences, she says, since “there are real people who genuinely represent conventional attributes—they’re our mothers and fathers, our uncles and aunts, our bright cousins.” Stereotypes are detrimental because they diminish an individual or a community, not because they are negative in and of themselves.
On the FOTB set, she endured harassment.
Even though Fresh Off the Boat was a groundbreaking sitcom for how it portrayed an Asian American family, working on the set wasn’t always simple. Wu’s account of her time spent working with a violent producer, whom she refers to as M—, is one of the book’s most terrifying passages. He’s a controlling man, according to her: He is accused of forcing Wu to oust her agent in favour of one he liked, ordering her to wear shorter skirts, and telling her repeatedly, “You do what I say.” Their time together is summarised in a scene that is a mashup of several stories and is written in screenplay style. In the scene, M— allegedly touches Wu against her will after convincing her to go to a Lakers game with him. Wu claims that he touches her thigh and remarks, “Your skin is incredibly smooth.” Then, in a nonthreatening, lighthearted manner, “She swatted his hand away. M— tightens his hold and grins as he advances his palm up her inner thigh. She eventually “tries to push his hand away once more. He raises it to lightly touch her thigh. He allegedly tells Wu she has huge arms when she orders him to stop.
Her post on FOTB was actually about M—Perhaps the most well-known Wu tale involved the unexpected sixth season renewal of Fresh Off the Boat. Wu tweeted in response, “So angry right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. Fuck,” and a string of additional derogatory comments over the continuation of the show. She describes the moment in her book as “everything I’d held in for so long flooding the atmosphere and I felt like the hot microwaved tomato all over again.” I just needed to finally make a sound; I didn’t care how I sounded.
Wu felt absolutely “helpless and desperate” as a result of the huge, incredibly unfavourable response to her tweets, which included multiple direct messages from a former coworker criticising her. She ended up in the hospital after a friend discovered her “clinging to the balcony railing of my fifth-floor apartment and staring wildly down at the NYC street below with a reckless despair so total that my body ceased being a body and became a sound so dangerously high-pitched it was like nails on a chalkboard.” She still didn’t actually check herself in since she didn’t want her “hospital stay to become news,” despite the fact that she was aware of it. She chose instead to rest on a cot in the waiting area. She claims that despite the response to her tweets, she never truly came close to hurting herself, although she did begin counselling.
In her 20s, Wu was sexually assaulted.
Wu’s rape at age 22 is described in one of the book’s most challenging essays to read. She talks of going on a date with a 36-year-old man who began putting on a condom after some “fooling around,” which was “an clear signal for sex — which I did not want.” She repeatedly informed him that she didn’t want intercourse with him before he raped her. He then presented her a 20-page mediaeval fantasy book titled “The Beating Heart of the Forest” that he had written for her after their first date. Wu claims that she suppressed the memory of the incident until all of it resurfaced one day. I had just finished filming Crazy Rich Asians in Singapore, so I was on a plane, she writes. Just after waking up from a slumber, the realisation flooded over me. It was a rape. Despite this, for a while “I couldn’t label it ‘rape,'” the speaker said. Wu is now prepared to call it what it was with the aid of her therapist. “I didn’t agree to having sex. It was rape even if it wasn’t violent. Period.”
She had to accept that she was challenging on set.
Making a Scene’s goal is to explain Wu’s conduct rather than entirely refute it if she is renowned for being difficult. Wu claims that Minappropriate —’s behaviour was largely to blame for her challenging behaviour on site. However, she adds, “repressed sentiments don’t just go away because you want for them to; they invariably come out in other ways: paranoia, jealousy, and isolation. “What followed was unusual, illogical conduct.” She even lost her cool with her co-star Randall Park once when she was left out of a radio interview that he was doing. Despite the fact that it wasn’t Park’s fault, she admits, “I remained furious and punished him for days by pouting whenever he came near me.”
She was once accused of sexual harassment.
Wu’s apology for her own incidence of sexual harassment is one of Making a Scene’s most unexpected moments. I have engaged in sexual harassment. Of harassing someone,” she claims. I struggled because I kept writing the word penis. Wu apparently determined that if boobs were jokes and the word was a punch line, then penises should be as well while she was a cast member of Fresh Off the Boat. When she was writing on a legal pad, signing a check, or making a grocery list as Jessica Huang, she frequently used the term penis: “Every time you saw my character writing on a legal pad, signing a check, or making a grocery list, I was writing the word penis over and over again.” One of the producers had to order Wu to stop after a member of the team protested that it was “inappropriate.” She feels terrible now for making someone else uncomfortable. I’m sorry and I understand the issue, she says. “I really apologise. I apologise from the bottom of my heart.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line if you or someone you know is in distress.