Jon M. Chu

Jonathan Murray "Jon" Chu (born November 2, 1979)[1] is an American film and television director, producer and screenwriter. He is best known as the director of 2018's Crazy Rich Asians, the first film by a major Hollywood studio to feature a majority cast of Asian descent in a modern setting since The Joy Luck Club in 1993.[2]

Jon M. Chu
Jon M. Chu 2013.jpg
Chu in March 2013
Jonathan Murray Chu

(1979-11-02) November 2, 1979 (age 41)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California (BA)
  • Director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
Years active2001–present
Kristin Hodge
(m. 2018)

The films that he has directed often include musical elements, including the dance films Step Up 2: The Streets (2008) and Step Up 3D (2010), musicals Jem and the Holograms (2015) and In the Heights (2021), and the live concert films Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011) and Justin Bieber's Believe (2013). Chu is an alumnus of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Early lifeEdit

Chu was born in Palo Alto, California and grew up in nearby Los Altos. He attended Pinewood School from kindergarten through 12th grade.[3] Chu is the youngest of five children.[4] His mother, Ruth Chu, was born in Taiwan; his father, Lawrence Chu, was born in Sichuan.[5][6][7] Lawrence Chu is a well-known chef. His parents own Chef Chu's, a popular restaurant in Los Altos.[8][9]

Chu graduated from University of Southern California in 2003.[4] He won the Princess Grace Award, the Dore Schary Award presented by the Anti-Defamation League, the Jack Nicholson directing award, and was recognized as an honoree for the IFP/West program Project: Involve.[citation needed]


After making his student short, When the Kids Are Away, Chu was signed to William Morris Agency and attached to several high-profile projects. Chu was hired by Sony Pictures to direct their feature Bye Bye Birdie, but Sony never green lit the film due to budget concerns. Sony got back into business with Chu to direct their updated version of The Great Gatsby,[10] which did not pan out but, after being purchased by Warner Bros. Pictures with Baz Luhrmann attached, developed into the 2013 film.

He is in a dance crew called AC/DC or Adam/Chu Dance crew. In an interview, Chu addressed a question he is often asked, "Why do all of your films have dance?" He responded, "I don't know why. It seems so obvious. But there's something about the dancers that motivate me the most. I don't know if it's just dance, but I do think that the dancers are amazing artists, and every time I meet a new dancer, that triggers something in my brain, and I'm more creative than I could ever be. When I feel that creativity burst, I go with it."[11]

In 2013, Chu was awarded the Visionary Award by East West Players (EWP), the longest-running theater of color in the United States, for his contributions to the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. In an online Q&A, Chu revealed that he had attended EWP's productions as a child and was excited "to push boundaries with them in the future."[12]

Chu directed Crazy Rich Asians, which was the highest-grossing film over the August 17, 2018 weekend, earned over $35M at the US box office during its first five days,[13] and garnered a 93% certified fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Within a week of the film's release, Variety reported that a sequel was already in development by Warner Bros. with Chu scheduled to direct.[14] Director Chu is part of Rachel Chu's family in the book, as a distant cousin.[15]

Upcoming projectsEdit

Chu directed In the Heights, based on the Broadway musical of the same name for Warner Bros., which is scheduled to be released on June 18, 2021.[16] It was previously set for a June 26, 2020, release, however, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[17][18][19]

In October 2020, it was announced that Chu would be directing the pilot for the Disney+ series Willow, based on the film of the same name, with Warwick Davis returning as the title character.[20][21] The following month, Chu entered talks to direct a live-adaptation of Disney's Lilo & Stitch.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

Chu is married to Kristin Hodge. Their daughter, Willow Chu, was born in 2017, whom is named after the 1988 fantasy film Willow.[23] Their son, Jonathan Heights Chu, was born in 2019. His middle name comes from the film, In the Heights, which Chu was in the middle of directing at the time.[24]


Year Film Director Producer Writer Notes
2001 Silent Beats Yes Yes Yes Short film;
also sound and production designer
2002 When the Kids Are Away Yes Yes Yes Short film
Gwai Lo: The Little Foreigner Yes Yes Yes
2008 Step Up 2: The Streets Yes No No Directorial debut
2010 Step Up 3D Yes No No
2011 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Yes No No
2012 Step Up Revolution No Executive No
2013 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Yes No No
Dear Mr. Watterson No Associate No
Justin Bieber's Believe Yes No No
2014 Step Up: All In No Executive No
2015 Jem and the Holograms Yes Yes No
2016 Now You See Me 2 Yes No No
2018 Crazy Rich Asians Yes No No
2019 Step Up: Year of the Dance No Yes No
Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho Yes Yes No
2021[17] In the Heights[18] Yes No No


Year Title Director Executive
Writer Notes
2010–2011 The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers Yes Yes Yes Creator;
Also editor
2019–present Good Trouble Yes Yes No Pilot
2020–present Home Before Dark Yes Yes No


  1. ^ Chu, Jon M. [@jonmchu] (2014-11-02). "Please dont wish me a happy 35th birthday today! Just help me reach my goal by..." (Tweet). Archived from the original on April 23, 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-22 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Ho, Karen K. (August 15, 2018). "'Crazy Rich Asians' Is Going to Change Hollywood. It's About Time". Time. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  3. ^ "Pinewood Alum Jon Chu Debuts in Movie Theaters Everywhere". Pinewood School. Archived from the original on November 21, 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "USC Alumni Association | Jon M. Chu '03". Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  5. ^ Yamato, Jen (August 10, 2018). "'Crazy Rich Asians': Director Jon M. Chu hopes to inspire other storytellers, open Hollywood's doors". Los Angeles Times. My mom’s from Taiwan. My dad’s from mainland China. They came over when they were 19, 20 years old.
  6. ^ Yang, Jeff (September 10, 2018). "The legendary Silicon Valley restaurant behind Crazy Rich Asians". Inkstone News. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Lawrence Chu and Chef Chu's – Los Altos, CA". Great Chefs.
  8. ^ Yam, Kimberly. "'Crazy Rich Asians' Director Jon M. Chu On His Journey To Reclaim His Identity". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  9. ^ Barry, Shannon (March 5, 2008). "A 'Step Up' to the big time: Los Altos native Chu directs Disney movie". Los Altos Town Crier. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  10. ^ Halbfinger, David (February 18, 2008). "Director's Reward: A Second First Chance". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  11. ^ "Filmmaker "Born from a Boombox": An interview with Jon M. Chu". Asia Pacific Arts. 2010-09-15.
  12. ^ "Jon M. Chu | East West Players tells all". Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  13. ^ McClintock, Pamela (19 August 2018). "Weekend Box Office: 'Crazy Rich Asians' Wins With $26.5M for $35M Five-Day Launch". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  14. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (2018-08-22). "'Crazy Rich Asians' Sequel in Works With Jon M. Chu to Direct". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  15. ^ Jason Guerrasio (15 August 2018). "How the director of 'Crazy Rich Asians' found redemption after a string of uninspiring studio movies". Business Insider.
  16. ^ D’Alessandro, Anthony (April 21, 2020). "'In The Heights' Dances Into Summer 2021". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  17. ^ a b McNary, Dave (June 7, 2018). "Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'In the Heights' Sets Summer 2020 Release". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Galuppo, Mia (May 17, 2018). "Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'In the Heights' Lands at Warner Bros". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Galuppo, Mia (March 24, 2020). "Warner Bros. Delays Release of 'In the Heights,' 'Scoob!' Due to Coronavirus". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  20. ^ "Jon M Chu To Direct Lucasfilm's Willow Series for Disney". Lucasfilm. October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  21. ^ Thorne, Will (2020-10-20). "'Willow' Sequel Series Officially a Go at Disney Plus, Jon M. Chu to Direct". Variety. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  22. ^ Kit, Borys (November 13, 2020). "Jon M. Chu in Talks to Direct Live-Action 'Lilo & Stitch' Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  23. ^ Barsanti, Sam (October 20, 2020). "Disney+ orders Willow sequel series from Jon M. Chu, with Warwick Davis returning". Yahoo Sports. The AV Club. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  24. ^ D'Zurilla, Christie (January 6, 2020). "'Crazy Rich Asians' director has the sweetest reaction to Awkwafina's Globes win". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2020.

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