Awkwafina is one of the funniest women onscreen at the moment and after roles in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8, things are only looking up for the 29-year-old.
Now, the actress, born Nora Lumm, is ready to make us cry with her first lead role in The Farewell.
The film first premiered at Sundance to rave reviews and will be released in July this year.
The Farewell sees Awkwafina as Billi, a woman raised in the US, but born in China, who finds out during a trip back east that her grandmother has cancer, but her family is hiding that fact from her.
The family gathers from all over the world under the guise of a cousin’s wedding so they can say their goodbyes.
Lulu Wang, who directed and wrote the script, went through something similar when her family tried to conceal her grandmother’s lung cancer diagnosis from her.
The film marks Awkwafina’s first lead role and foray into drama, the actress told Refinery29 last year the subject hit close to home as her grandmother was a large part of her life growing up.
“The universe kind of rained it on down. I went to China — I hadn’t been there since I was 19 — and I just remember thinking: ‘I want my grandma to see this movie,’ and it’s the same thought I had with Crazy Rich Asians. I’ve done mostly comedy — I had never cried as an actress. I literally didn’t think I was capable of crying.”
She jokingly added:
“I kind of compare crying in scenes to keeping up a boner — sorry to bring it there,” she said. “You have a boner, you cry, but you can’t force it back. There comes a window, where ‘No, it’s gone, I can’t do it anymore.’”
Watch the trailer here: