'Crazy Rich Asians' author Kevin Kwan claims his roots in Clear Lake-area of Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's got glitz, glamour, and a whole lot of drama.

"Crazy Rich Asians" is now out in theaters, and it's already one of the most talked about movies in the country.

But all the frenzy started with a book and a kid named Kevin Kwan.

"I couldn't have predicted this level of celebrity that he's currently enjoying," laughed Kwan's former creative writing professor, John Gorman.

Kwan was born in Singapore but moved to Clear Lake at the age of 11.

He graduated from Clear Lake High School at 16, and the University of Houston-Clear Lake at 19.

"His parents wanted him to have an upbringing that was more normal and less class-structured than what he had in Singapore," Gorman explained.

Kwan majored in Media Studies while at UH-Clear Lake.

"He had the material and he had a good sense of himself," Gorman explained. "He had the work habits."

Kwan published "Crazy Rich Asians" in 2013 and it was already a best-seller before it became a movie.

Now, this is the first movie with an all-Asian cast since "The Joy Luck Club" was released 25 years ago.

"I came out feeling a roller coaster of emotions. I came out feeling like such a proud Asian that this movie represents kind of my story and every Asian-American story," said fashion designer Chloe Dao.

Dao knows what it's like to inspire other Asians.

"When I won 'Project Runway' 12 years ago, I still get emails like, 'you inspired me, you actually allowed my parents to see that I could be successful in a creative field,'" she explained.

Some Asian-Americans are even buying out auditoriums and theaters for private screenings.

The idea is to show Hollywood producers that Asian-centered movies can sell.

"If it does well, hopefully, they will make more movies like that," said Bellaire resident Tammy Tran Nguyen. "I think it's very refreshing to see a movie with an all Asian cast and we're not doing Kung Fu and we're not fleeing from a village."
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