Ivanhoe Pictures to Produce Film About World's Greatest Female Gambler

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images For Relativity Media
Ivanhoe Pictures president John Penotti

Coming off the success of 'Crazy Rich Asians,' Ivanhoe's president John Penotti is betting big on 'The Baccarat Queen,' the true story of a gifted Chinese woman who vowed revenge against the world's biggest casinos.

Ivanhoe Pictures, the division of SK Global that produced last year's smash hit Crazy Rich Asians, is partnering with Jeffrey Sharp of Sharp Independent Pictures to finance and co-produce a feature film about Cheung Yin "Kelly" Sun, the most successful female gambler in modern history.

Given the working title The Baccarat Queen, the project is inspired by Vegas insider Michael Kaplan's article "The Baccarat Machine" published in Cigar Aficionado.

Ivanhoe says the film "will feature strong Asian characters" but will be told mostly in English for the worldwide market.

The Baccarat Queen will tell the true story of Sun, a young Chinese woman who turns a painstakingly developed card-playing talent and obsession for revenge into one of the most ingenious legal gambling runs ever documented. Over the course of less than a year playing baccarat in major casinos around the world, Sun amasses winnings in the tens of millions of dollars. With major casinos conspiring to bar her from their properties, Sun eventually partners with the international "King of Poker," Phil Ivey, in order to take down the system through subterfuge, ingenuity and pure daring.

"The Baccarat Queen is a truly captivating story that will feature a diverse international cast, a goal that Ivanhoe continues to pursue as global storytellers," says Ivanhoe Pictures president John Penotti. "We are thrilled to partner with Sharp as we tell this exciting, high-stakes tale of cunning and revenge.”

“We couldn’t be more excited about bringing this powerful, female-driven story to the screen with John and the Ivanhoe team,” Sharp adds. “They are the perfect home for this project.”

Jeffrey Sharp and SK Global’s other co-productions include the upcoming drama Stride, written by Neville Kiser and Sophia Pan with Arvin Chen (Au Revoir Taipei) set to direct; and the recent Stephon Marbury biopic My Other Home, written and directed by Larry Yang, for Huayi Bros and Hairun Pictures in China.