'The Farewell': How a Chinese Credit Card Nearly Ruined the Premiere

After a hotel refused to accept actress Hong Lu's credit card, filmmaker Lulu Wang and her boyfriend, Barry Jenkins, put out a call for help.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Hong Lu (left) and Lulu Wang

Filmmaker Lulu Wang was dining with her boyfriend — director Barry Jenkins — in Montreal on July 5 when she got word that one of the stars of her new movie, The Farewell, was nearly stranded in New York.

Chinese actress Hong Lu, 59, had taken a 16-hour flight to attend the film's July 8 Manhattan premiere, but the front desk clerk at her hotel — which nobody wants to name — wouldn't accept Lu's Chinese credit card. Wang tried to use her credit card, but the clerk wouldn't take it over the phone.

So Jenkins came to the rescue, asking his 180,000 Twitter followers for help. Within minutes, a New York writer-editor named Andrew Littlefield dashed to the hotel and checked in the actress with his card. “I was happy to help out such talented filmmakers,” Littlefield tells THR. The reward? Tickets to the premiere, which he unfortunately had to pass on. (His loss: See tweets below.) “I was unable to attend due to travel plans. I look forward to seeing The Farewell in theaters.” He'll have plenty of company: The movie opened to $351,330 from four theaters, giving it the best per-screen average of 2019.

 

A version of this story appears in the July 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.