Hot off the success of Marvel‘s The Eternals, Gemma Chan has been tapped to star and produce in a biopic centered on the iconic Anna May Wong, per The Hollywood Reporter. Nina Yang Bongiovi (Dope, Sorry to Bother You) will produce with Chan, in addition to Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title. The screenplay will be penned by a fellow Asian American trailblazer in David Henry Hwang, the first Asian American playwright to win a Tony Award.
Anna Wong, niece of the film’s subject, will be a consultant on the film. This is undoubtedly a strong move that will bestow some good graces on the project. Wong, born in 1905, led an extensive career that spanned from the silent era and radio to television and movies. The biopic will be adapting Graham Russell Gao Hodges‘s biography, Anna May Wong: From Laundrywoman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend.
There’s definitely a rich bank of experiences to pull from for the film, from Wong’s experience with the bigotry and challenges of the Hays Code in early Hollywood to her actions to aid the war efforts in World War II. One of her most prominent achievements developed in 1951, when she became the first Asian American series lead for a U.S. television series in The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong. Given the team behind the film, as well as the strong source material, this could easily become an award-worthy performance for Chan, which also will hopefully shine a light on Wong‘s legacy.
Chan had the following to say about portraying such an iconic Hollywood legend in Wong:
“Anna May Wong was a trailblazer, an icon and a woman ahead of her time. Her talent and her exploration of her art in and outside of the U.S. was groundbreaking — and the challenges and prejudice she faced in the early 20th century as an actress speak directly to the conversations and the world we are navigating today.”
This biopic is the next step in the efforts to honor Wong‘s work. She was recently announced as one of the women to appear in the U.S. Mint’s American Women quarters series. Michelle Krusiec portrayed the actress in Ryan Murphy‘s Netflix series, Hollywood. As for Chan, this is just one of her upcoming projects, as she’s slated to appear in Olivia Wilde‘s Don’t Worry Darling, as well as Gareth Edwards‘s next film, True Love.
There’s currently no release date for this project.