Lulu Wang Slams News of Ron Howard Directing Lang Lang Biopic
By Carl Samson
September 24, 2020
Lulu Wang has slammed the announcement of Ron Howard as director of an upcoming biopic about a famed Chinese pianist.
The biographical drama, which is yet to receive a title, will focus on Lang Lang — the first Chinese pianist to perform with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and top American orchestras, and one who has played for multiple international dignitaries, including former U.S. President Barack Obama, former Chinese President Hu Jintao, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Queen Elizabeth II.
Wang is a classically-trained pianist herself, starting lessons at the age of 4. She took to Twitter to express her disappointment that a White director will helm such a story.
“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 and intellectuals + the effects of Western imperialism. Just saying,” the filmmaker wrote.
Wang, who directed last year’s critically-acclaimed “The Farewell,” pointed out that she is not after Howard’s job.
“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, or with the cultural aspect of the physical violence in his upbringing,” she noted.
Based on the memoir “Journey of a Thousand Miles” by Lang and David Ritz, Howard’s biopic is expected to follow the pianist’s life from his childhood in Shenyang, China to the top of the global classical music arena. Brian Grazer will produce the film through his and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment shingle.
“Lang Lang’s story is one of determination, passion, sacrifice, and finding the inner strength to beat the odds,” said Howard and Grazer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “This film is a bridge between two cultures that share universal truths about the gauntlets we face in the pursuit of greatness.”
Lang himself will serve as an executive producer, along with Jean-Jacques Cesbron, Michele Anthony and David Blackman. Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney will write the script.
“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 said, according to Deadline.
Wang concluded her criticism referencing Disney’s “Mulan,” which was also directed and written by White creatives. The live-action remake has received criticism for the matter, along with other issues.
“Have we learned NOTHING from ‘Mulan’? I haven’t said anything because, yes, representation, and many people I love are involved, but I just have to. Just HAVE to,” Wang insisted. “Because 2020 man… and I’m f***ing exhausted.”
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