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The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons is set to topline Brother Orange, Warner Bros. and BuzzFeed Motion Pictures’ big-screen telling of the internet phenomenon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Parsons will also produce with Todd Spiewak through the duo’s That’s Wonderful Productions banner, joining producers Michael Shamberg and Matthew Henick, head of development at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures.
Parsons will play BuzzFeed editor Matt Stopera, who in 2014 had his iPhone stolen. Unbeknownst to him, the cellphone made its way to China and, a year later, random pictures began appearing on his photo stream, including a number of pictures of a serious-looking man in front of an orange tree.
The editor did a series of stories about the incident, and the story went viral in China, exploding on social platform Weibo with more than 20 million views in 24 hours and over 100 million total shares. There, the online community dubbed the man Li Hongjun (“Brother Orange”) and helped Stopera track him down. Stopera eventually sought out Hongjun in China, with both becoming overnight celebrities. Back in the U.S., the two appeared on Ellen.
The movie’s story follows an unlikely, accidental friendship that transcends cultural divides.
Stopera is executive producing Brother Orange alongside Broad City co-creator Ilana Glazer (up until recently, the two were roommates), Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman. Eric Norsoph will be overseeing for That’s Wonderful.
Parsons is now in his 10th (10th!!!) season on CBS’ Big Bang Theory, playing lovable geek Sheldon, a role that has netted him four Emmy wins. His movie appearances have been on the rare side, but he will be seen in the upcoming period race drama Hidden Figures with Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner.
Parsons is repped by CAA, Principal Entertainment LA and Gang Tyre.
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