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Ron Howard will direct a new, as-yet-untitled biopic on world-renowned pianist Lang Lang based on the memoir Journey of a Thousand Miles by Lang and David Ritz.
Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios is financing the new film, which Brian Grazer will produce through his and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment shingle. Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney will adapt the book for the screen.
Lang Lang and Jean-Jacques Cesbron will act as executive producers on the film, together with Polygram Entertainment’s Michele Anthony and David Blackman.
Journey of a Thousand Miles traces Lang Lang’s extraordinary life story, from his childhood in the provincial city of Shenyang in Northern China to the peak of the global classic music industry. Along the way, Lang’s family sacrificed almost everything to help their talented son succeed.
“Lang Lang’s story is one of determination, passion, sacrifice, and finding the inner strength to beat the odds,” said Grazer and Howard in a joint statement. “This film is a bridge between two cultures that share universal truths about the gauntlets we face in the pursuit of greatness.”
Added Lang: “Dream big, work hard, and always believe in yourself. This movie, thanks to Ron Howard’s vision, will inspire young people around the world to follow their dreams and never forget they are one in a million.”
Howard plans to begin shooting the film after finishing Thirteen Lives, his upcoming drama about the Thai Cave rescue, for MGM. The Lang Lang biopic is set to shoot in China and the U.S. in both Mandarin and English.
CAA Media Finance arranged financing for the film and will co-represent worldwide rights with AGC International.
The deal for the film was negotiated by Elsa Ramo of Ramo Law for Imagine, and by Ford and AGC’s vp business and legal affairs Anant Tamirisa for AGC. Howard is represented by CAA and Lang is represented by Cami Music and CAA.
After news about the movie was announced The Farewell filmmaker Lulu Wang noted that lack of Chinese talent behind the project, writing on Twitter, “As a classically-trained pianist born in China, I believe it’s impossible to tell Lang Lang’s story without an intimate understanding of Chinese culture + the impact of the Cultural Revolution on artists & intellectuals [and] the effects of Western imperialism.”
Wang went on the reference recent Disney release Mulan, which was based on the traditional Chinese folk ballad but was directed and written by white filmmakers. She added, “I’m not saying this because I want to direct this movie. I do not. I just don’t think these are the artists to grapple with the cultural specificities of Northeast China where Lang Lang (and my family) are from.”
As a classically-trained pianist born in China, I believe it's impossible to tell Lang Lang's story without an intimate understanding of Chinese culture + the impact of the Cultural Revolution on artists & intellectuals + the effects of Western imperialism. Just saying.🧐 https://t.co/63B14TCsRB
— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) September 22, 2020
Updated 6:05 p.m. Updated with Lulu Wang’s tweets.
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