Ron Howard to Direct Biopic on Master Chinese Pianist Lang Lang
AGC Studios and Imagine Entertainment will partner on the feature
Photo credits: Jeff Lipsky/Cami Music
Ron Howard will direct a biopic on the life of Lang Lang, the world-renowned Chinese pianist about his journey from life in Northern China to making it to the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music and to international acclaim.
The untitled feature on Lang Lang will be fully financed by Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios and will be produced by Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment. Michelle Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney wrote the screenplay based on Lang Lang’s own memoir co-written with David Ritz called “Journey of a Thousand Miles.”
At just 38 but someone who has been active since the early 1990s, the young concert pianist Lang Lang has played with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and some of America’s top orchestras. His memoir charts his own childhood and shows how his family, both of them musicians whose careers in China’s insular classical music world never panned out, overcame financial uncertainty in order to help their son pursue his talents.The film will explore his childhood as well as his rise to fame in America at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied under Gary Graffman.
Howard plans to shoot the untitled Lang Lang biopic in China and the U.S. and will feature both Mandarin and English. The film is intended to be Howard’s next film after he finishes the upcoming “Thirteen Lives” for MGM.
Grazer and Imagine Entertainment president of features Karen Lunder will produce, as will AGC Studios’ Stuart Ford. Lang Lang and Jean-Jacques Cesbron along with Polygram Entertainment’s Michele Anthony and David Blackman will serve as executive producers.
“Lang Lang’s story is one of determination, passion, sacrifice, and finding the inner strength to beat the odds. This film is a bridge between two cultures that share universal truths about the gauntlets we face in the pursuit of greatness,” Grazer and Howard said in a joint statement. “Kieran and Michele are the ideal storytellers to help bring this story to audiences around the world.”
“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,” Lang Lang said in a statement.
“Lang Lang’s journey is an inspirational story of perseverance, self-belief, bravery and of a family’s love for one another. The prospect of Ron, one of Hollywood’s great directors, taking on such a dramatically powerful piece of cross-cultural storytelling is a truly exciting one for audiences around the world,” Ford said in a statement.
Lang Lang has performed at the Vatican, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony and has played at the Grammys with Metallica, Pharrell Williams and jazz legend Herbie Hancock. He’s also collaborated with Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim and Christoph Eschenbach. He has also performed for numerous international dignitaries and heads of state, including four U.S. presidents
Howard is working on the Thai cave rescue drama “Thirteen Lives” at MGM, and he’s also attached to an adaptation of “Hillbilly Elegy” that will star Amy Adams, Glenn Close and Haley Bennett. He also recently directed the documentary “Rebuilding Paradise” about the fires that rocked Northern California.
CAA Media Finance arranged financing for the film and will co-represent worldwide rights with AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of AGC Studios.
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