Warner Bros. has landed the rights to “Crazy Rich Asians,” a film based on Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel about wealthy Chinese families living in Singapore — and which will be the first studio movie with an all-Asian cast.
Jon M. Chu, who helmed “Now You See Me 2,” will direct the movie. Pete Chiarelli and Adele Lim are handling the screenplay.
“Crazy Rich Asians” will start shooting next spring in Singapore.
The film is based on Kwan’s best-selling novel of the same name, which has almost 1 million copies in print around the world and has never left the top 10 in Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia since its release in 2013. It chronicles the adventures of a Chinese-American economics professor who joins her boyfriend for a friend’s wedding in Singapore, only to learn that the boyfriend is the heir to a massive fortune, entangling the professor in Singapore’s high society.
“Crazy Rich Asians” will be produced by Color Force’s Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson and Ivanhoe President John Penotti. Kwan will serve as executive producer alongside Ivanhoe Chairman Robert Friedland. Courtenay Valenti and Jon Gonda will oversee the project for Warner Bros.
“I am beyond thrilled that the amazing film my fans around the world have been waiting for is finally happening,” Kwan said in a statement announcing the deal. “I have such tremendous respect and trust in Nina, Brad, Jon and Warner Bros, and I know they are going to create an incredible, history-making movie.”
According to a recent University of Southern California study, Asians made up only 3.9 percent of characters in 2015’s 100 highest-grossing films, and there were no Asian lead actors in any of them.
The deal was negotiated by Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Kwan is represented by Alexandra Machinist at ICM. Chu’s representatives are WME and Principato Young.