Constance Wu turned out to be an integral part of the history-making cast of Crazy Rich Asians, but she almost wasn’t a part of the cast at all. As Wu reportedly revealed during a panel at Vulture Festival Los Angeles on Saturday, November 17, she initially “let the part go” because of scheduling conflicts with her ABC sitcom, Fresh Off the Boat.

“I met with [director Jon M. Chu] and I was like, ‘I really want to do this, but I can’t, because I’m under contract with my show and we shoot in the fall,'” she recalled, according to Us Weekly. “I was like, ‘Cool, another actress will get that and I will be 100 percent behind her because I want there to be more Asian actors out there.’ So I kind of let it go.”

However, she soon changed her mind. According to Us Weekly, she had a revelation while sitting next to someone on an airplane, and she decided life was “too precious” to let the opportunity pass her by.

She ended up reaching out to Chu with a heartfelt plea about why the role of Rachel Chu was so important to her. “I wrote this email on the plane to [Chu],” she said. “[I was like,] ‘Listen, I know the schedules don’t work out, whoever you end up putting in the movie … I want to support you, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you what this means to me and why.”

Her email got her back in the running, but she said that she still had to audition, which was a pretty nerve-wracking experience. “Asian Americans don’t often get the opportunity to audition for a lead role, so that in itself is a setback because white actors have the opportunity to practice auditioning in charged situations,” she said. “If they don’t get that part, they’ll probably audition next week. So it’s not as precious as somebody who gets to audition maybe once a year, maybe once in their lifetime.”

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(photo via Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)