Author Jamie Ford Says ‘No Whitewashing’ of Asian American Protagonists in His Book’s Film Adaptation

A movie adaptation of Jamie Ford’s best-selling novel “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” is in the works as Ford assures that there will be no whitewashing of its characters.

The 2009 historical fiction tells the bittersweet story of friendship and love between Chinese-American boy Henry Lee and Japanese-American girl Keiko Okabe during the Japanese internment period in World War II.

Diane Quon recently acquired the film rights with Joseph Craig of StemEnt as producer and actor/activist George Takei as executive producer, Deadline reports.

via FaceBook / George Takei

“I was captivated by Jamie Ford’s novel when I first read it and visualized a compelling film in my mind’s eye,” Takei in a statement. “I saw the drama of enduring love despite governmental racism, the passage of time and the vicissitude of life. What a wonderful film it would make. Now we are beginning the exciting adventure of making it happen.”

Ford, who will be co-writing the film’s script, told Deadline that international fans of the book have been asking him when a movie adaptation of his popular book will come out.

“I’m delighted to say yes because for years I said no to filmmakers who wanted to change too many things about the story (like the ethnicity of my main character),” Ford revealed. “With this team, I’m confident that fans will get a satisfying film that remains true to the spirit of the book.”

Given a proper treatment, the award-winning, critically-acclaimed book which has been described as “a wartime-era Chinese-Japanese variation on Romeo and Juliet”, has the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster.


Considering the rampant whitewashing of minority roles in Hollywood and outright refusal of producers to cast Asian actors, Ford’s determination to ensure the male lead remains Chinese is quite commendable.

Production for the romantic drama is slated to start in 2018.

Feature Image (Left) via Wikimedia Commons/José Luis Zaragoza Guerrero (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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