Cannes: Director Peter Chan Takes on Chinese Tennis Star Li Na Project

Chan's We Distribution outfit is handling international sales at Cannes.

Chinese filmmaker Peter Ho-Sun Chan will direct a feature about tennis star and national icon Li Na, who won both the French and Australian Open titles but was forced to retire last year after repeated injury problems.

Chan's We Pictures company will collaborate with Li, who will act as a consultant on the movie, on shooting her biography, Li Na: My Life. We Distribution is handling international sales for the project at Cannes.

Li is the first and only Asian tennis player in history – male or female – to win a Grand Slam title, and she ranked as high as World No. 2 during her career. In China, where tennis is very much a minority sport, she is a national hero, and she is famous for her jokes about her husband, who helped build her career.

"The story between her and her husband is very atypical, in fact a lot of things with Li Na are very atypical for Chinese people. It shows a very different side of contemporary China," Chan told THR.

"She broke rules and defied conventions and, against all odds, became a legend. I’m mesmerized by what she has been able to accomplish and what she represents as a symbol of hope for millions of people around the world," said Chan.

The film is set to commence production in the fall of 2015 with a release date in 2016. Both Chan and Li are repped by WME-IMG.

"There was a lot of interest in the industry in doing her life story. She was one of the first sports stars to be on her own and develop her career," said Chan.

Chan said he was looking at different possibilities for casting, either to use existing actors or perhaps use a tennis player to play her.

"I had to make a lot of sacrifices in my life in order to become the best tennis player I could be and the film project makes it all worth it. Hopefully, the film will be able to inspire others to believe in themselves and follow their dreams," Li said.


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