This was the first Western-produced film with an exclusively Asian cast in more than twenty-five years.
The film is based on the novel of the same name. The novel is the first part of a trilogy by Kevin Kwan. The second book in the trilogy is "China Rich Girlfriend" and the third is "Rich People Problems."
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the film's creators turned down (in their words) "life-changing money" from Netflix before deciding to go the feature film route.
Many of the translucently pseudonymed characters that the Youngs interact with in the book are real, actual personages in Singaporean high society.
In the novels, Eleanor Young is friends with Carol Tai, who married Dato Tai Toh Lui (which hilariously means "too much money" in Cantonese). In real life, Michelle Yeoh (who plays Eleanor) was given the title of "Dato" (similar to English knighthood) by the Sultan of Perak.
Constance Wu and Ken Jeong previously starred together on the television show Fresh Off the Boat (2015).
The lion in the foyer of Tyersall Park (where Nick and Astrid would hide their cigarettes) was an interesting movie prop. Per the Hollywood Reporter "The mansion's taxidermied tiger was problematic; the best specimen was in London, and the production designer realized he'd have trouble getting it across international borders. Instead, he hired sculptors in Thailand to create a tiger out of foam and fur, only to have it held up in Thai customs because agents thought it was the real thing. "We finally got it installed the night before we filmed the scene," he says."
Michelle Yeoh and Harry Shum Jr. previously starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016).
Despite some prominent billing, Harry Shum, Jr. (Charlie Wu: he has a much bigger part in the book and its sequels) is only on screen for a few seconds in a scene that it about 30 seconds into the credits: he is the handsome man at the bar who Astrid smiles at.
Tyersall Park, Nick's grandmother's home is actually in Kuala Lampur. Per The Hollywood Reporter: "Tyersall Park, the mansion of the Young family matriarch, was created out of two abandoned Malaysian government-owned buildings in Kuala Lumpur. "The jungle had started to take over, floors had collapsed, there was monkey poop and bat populations," says production designer Coates, who stripped out carpeting, stenciled the floors to look like expensive tile, and found a local muralist to create leafy graphics for the walls."