8:30am PT by Chris Gardner
'The Farewell': How a Chinese Credit Card Nearly Ruined the Premiere
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.
Look at this movie star, ready to walk her first red carpet tomorrow for the NY premiere of THE FAREWELL! Gotta thank @FSUAndrew for answering an urgent tweet from @BarryJenkins on Friday night that got us out of a major bind...(1/3) pic.twitter.com/MO7CfdubJZ— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) July 8, 2019
Last night after our NY premiere at @MetrographNYC, @A24 had a little surprise - a lion dancer outside the theater that led the entire audience of 250 from LES through Chinatown to the afterparty. The entire community was out in the streets. Magical beyond words. #TheFarewell pic.twitter.com/w4LgmM6jPN— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) July 9, 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.