Gemma Chan To Star In & Produce Biopic Of Hollywood Legend Anna May Wong

Gemma Chan (Eternals) has signed on to produce and star in a biopic of Anna May Wong, widely considered Hollywood’s first Chinese American movie star.

David Henry Hwang, himself a trailblazer as the first Asian American playwright to win a Tony Award, will write the screenplay. Nina Yang Bongiovi will produce with Chan, as will Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title.

The film will adapt Graham Russell Gao Hodges‘s biography, Anna May Wong: From Laundrywoman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend. Wong’s career was extensive, beginning in the silent era – where she became a fashion icon in 1924 – and going on to radio, television, and movies.

Her key role in 1932’s Shanghai Express remains one of her most famous performances, but she also had to fight bigotry and the Hays Code. Her career suffered a big setback when she wasn’t considered for the Chinese lead in the Hollywood adaptation of The Good Earth, with white actress Luise Rainer cast to play the role in yellowface.

However, Wong became the first Asian-American series lead for a U.S. TV show when she starred in The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong in 1951. She was planning to return to Hollywood to film Flower Drum Song, but sadly died from a heart attack. Her career has been re-evaluated following her death, and she will soon be the first Asian-American woman to appear on U.S. currency.

Chan said in a statement:

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.”

Wong was recently portrayed by Michelle Krusiec in Ryan Murphy‘s Netflix series Hollywood, and hopefully this film is a further step to help a new generation of film fans discover her. There’s currently no title or release date for the movie, but more news will likely arrive soon.

Chan will next be seen in Olivia Wilde‘s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, and she’s currently filming Gareth Edwards‘ sci-fi project True Love.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like