Ron Howard has signed on to direct a biopic of world-renowned pianist Lang Lang, which AGC Studios will fully finance. Michelle Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) have written the screenplay, based on Journey Of A Thousand Miles, a memoir Lang wrote with David Ritz.
Lang is widely considered one of the greatest classical pianists and is beloved for his dramatic playing style. But his rise to the top of the music world came at great personal cost, as his childhood was marred by the collapse of his parents’ marriage and his family’s precarious financial situation.
After moving to America, Lang attended the Curtis Institute of Music where he was mentored by Gary Graffman, an influential instructor whose other students include Yuja Wang and Haochen Zhang. That was the beginning of Lang’s professional odyssey, which went on to include appearances at the Vatican, the Grammys, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Howard and longtime producing partner Brian Grazer, who is also producing the film, said in a joint statement: “Lang Lang‘s story is one of determination, passion, sacrifice, and finding the inner strength to beat the odds. This film is a bridge between two cultures that share universal truths about the gauntlets we face in the pursuit of greatness”.
In a statement of his own, Lang added: “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 has previously explored the lives of musicians in documentaries such as The Beatles: Eight Days A Week and Pavarotti, but the timing of this biopic makes sense considering the recent success of similar musician-centric films such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, and Judy.
Unlike the subjects of those films though, Lang is not as widely known to the general public, so this should be a perfect opportunity for audiences to learn and appreciate why he’s so well regarded within the classical music world.
Howard will begin work on the biopic after completing Thirteen Lives, a thriller about the Thai Cave Rescue that’s in production at MGM. If you can’t wait that long for another Howard film, don’t worry, as he’s got Hillbilly Elegy, a film described as a modern exploration of the American Dream within three generations of an Appalachian family, hitting Netflix sometime this year.