The Farewell writer-director Lulu Wang has an issue with Ron Howard helming the biopic of Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang.
Shortly after the upcoming biographical drama announced, Wang took to Twitter to voice her concerns of having a white director calling the shots of a film about the Asian experience.
The biopic — based on the Lang Lang’s memoir Journey of a Thousand Miles — focuses on the musician’s life from his childhood in Shenyang, China, to his rise to superstardom in the global classic music scene.
Wang wrote: “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 and the impact of the Cultural Revolution on artists and intellectuals and the effects of Western imperialism. Just saying.”
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
She continued, “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 w/ 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.”
“Have we learned NOTHING from Mulan?” the Beijing-born filmmaker laments, referring to the controversial Disney epic — which, despite featuring a Chinese cast, was slammed for its lack of diversity behind the scenes, with a nearly all-white production team, including the director, writers, and cinematographer.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the script for Lang Lang’s biopic is being written by Michelle and Kieran Mulroney (Power Rangers, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows). Yes, they’re white.
“I haven't said anything because yes representation and many people I love are involved, but I just have to,” Wang added. “Just HAVE to. Because 2020 man... and I'm [expletive] exhausted.”
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. Because 2020 man... and I'm fucking exhausted.— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) September 22, 2020
Apparently, Lang Lang, who’s attached to the project as an executive producer, has no problem whatsoever having the Oscar-winning Howard to make a film about him. In a statement, Lang Lang, 38, said: “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 work on the Lang Lang biopic — which is set to shoot in China and the US in both Mandarin and English — after he’s completed Thirteen Lives, the drama about the 2018 Thai Cave rescue. (Hey, that's another Asian story!)
Photos: TPG News/Click Photos