02 May Jon M. Chu ’03
Jon M. Chu is a filmmaker whose credits include Step Up 2: The Streets (2008), Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Now You See Me 2 (2016) and the hotly anticipated Crazy Rich Asians (2018), which is based on the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan.
The youngest of five children of Chinese immigrants, Chu began making movies in fifth grade, when his mother gave him a video camera to record the family vacations. Chu instead began making science fiction thrillers and murder mysteries starring his siblings. The Bay Area native went on to attend the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he received several awards, including the Jack Nicholson Award, the Princess Grace Award and the Kodak Student Filmmaker Award.
Chu first attracted Hollywood’s attention with his student short film, When the Kids Are Away. Signed by the William Morris Agency, he made his feature film directorial debut with Step Up 2: The Streets, the sequel to Step Up (2006), and subsequently directed Step Up 3D (2010), which is the highest-grossing film in the franchise worldwide.
In addition to his feature films, Chu created, wrote and co-produced the 2010-2011 web series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD), which won Advertising Age’s Media Vanguard Award for Outstanding Web Series. Chu also received the 2011 Digital Pioneer Emmy Award for LXD.
Chu’s latest film, Crazy Rich Asians, is the first major motion picture studio-backed film with an all-Asian cast in 25 years. It will be released in theaters nationwide on August 17, 2018.