Movie homes have a far greater role beyond setting the right grounds for all the action. More often than not, they add to the message of the movie, strengthen certain aspects that the filmmakers want to stand out, or play a key role in character development.
And the best example of that is the Jon M. Chu-directed Crazy Rich Asians, which follows the story of Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American professor who travels to meet her boyfriend’s family only to learn that they are among the richest people in Singapore.
How rich, you might ask? Think landlords-to-most-of-Singapore rich, as the characters point out themselves during the movie.
But portraying that level of wealth isn’t easy, because no ordinary luxury setting would do. So in order to re-create the vast amounts of money than run in Nick Young’s family, the filmmakers had to find some quite impressive properties to house them in.
And that must have been all the more challenging seeing that the Young family made most of their wealth from real estate, being the the prime property developers in Singapore and Malaysia. Suffice to say, they know luxury real estate better than most.
Also worth noting: Singapore is one of the most expensive places to live in the entire world, outranking hotspots famous for their pricey lifestyle like Paris, London, and Los Angeles.
This only stands to further highlight how rich the Youngs really are. So where would Nick’s ultra-wealthy, real estate tycoon family live?
Nick Young’s parents’ house
Soon after Nick asks Rachel to travel back home with him to attend his best friend’s wedding, the camera travels as fast as the rumors do, and we catch our first glimpse of where the protagonists’ family lives.
As rumors about Nick’s mystery girlfriend reach his mother, Eleanor, we see her attending a Bible study session in her stunning private residence.
The house depicted as the Singapore home of Eleanor Young in Crazy Rich Asians is in reality the Be-landa House, a stunning architectural residence built in 2014 and set in a jungle outside Kuala Lumpur.
Home to an actual family of five, the modern abode was built on stilts among the treetops on a jungle hillside, and has six bedrooms.
The house consists of three pavilions on different levels, linked by a glass-walled bridge and seven staircases necessary for vertical connection because of the slope.
And while the Be-landa house definitely has the potential to steal the show, in the land of the mega-rich, it’s the other Young family mansion that stands out as the ultimate symbol of status and wealth — and it’s where the family matriarch lives.
The palace ah-mah (the grandmother) lives in
Nick’s grandmother (fondly referred to as ah-mah by her grandchildren) lives in the ancestral Young mansion, which we get to see in its finest clothing: set up for a glamorous party.
The mansion is set on a massive estate that’s surrounded by tons of acres of rolling hills and beautiful gardens, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
However, the mansion and surrounding park in the film would not be all that remote, as they are said to be located in Tyersall Park — a historical estate near the Singapore Botanic Gardens (what some people would call perfect location).
The choice in location for ah-mah’s house is meant to further illustrate just how rich the family is, particularly in the eyes of locals who know that scoring a house in Tyersall Park is not doable.
In real-life though, you won’t find the Young family mansion in Tyersall Park; the land where the Crazy Rich Asians estate supposedly stands is actually owned by Malaysian royalty and is said to be worth over $3.5 billion.
The 34-year-old Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim owns the land, which lies in the former Tyersall Park, next to the Botanic Gardens.
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Inside, ravaged by fire and decay, are the ruins of Istana Woodneuk, the palace built by his ancestors in the late 19th century — which likely served as inspiration for the book portrayal of the Young house.
Now, while you won’t find the real Crazy Rich Asians mansion in Tyersall Park, that doesn’t mean it’s not real.
The house as it appears in the movie was actually filmed at two abandoned mansions that make up Carcosa Seri Negara within the Perdana Botanical Gardens of Kuala Lumpur. Interior scenes were filmed at one building, and the exterior scenes were filmed at the other.
Peik Lin’s house, clad in gold and drapes
While the Young family is undoubtedly the wealthiest one, you’d be forgiven if you’ve found Peik Lin’s house to be the most opulent residence, interiors-wise (especially since that was very much on purpose).
We get to meet Rachel’s college friend, Peik Lin Goh (played brilliantly by Awkwafina) and her eccentric family early on in the movie, as we step into their gold-clad house that would put even the Versace mansion to shame.
And as we sit there, marveling at the unapologetic opulence of the Goh family home — whose interiors were inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles and Donald Trump’s bathroom — we get to see the Gohs being starstruck at the very mention of Nick Young’s name, and they go on to share that his family is the among the richest in all of Singapore.
Well, if the filmmakers were trying to paint a revealing picture here as to how rich the Youngs really are, this sure was the perfect setting.
Now, just in case you were wondering whether Peik Lin’s house exists in real life, you might be happy to learn that it does — and it’s set in Singapore’s upscale neighborhood of Dempsey Hill.
The property is often rented out to the highest bidder, so if you’re a die-hard fan looking to live the ‘crazy rich life’ in Asia, expect to pay between $30 to $45k per month to stay here.
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