Chinese tennis player Li Na’s life story to become a film

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CANNES: Peter Chan Calls the Shots on ‘Li Na: My Life’ Biopic.

Top Asian filmmaker Peter Chan Ho-sun will produce and direct “Li Na: My Life,” a biopic of the tennis player who is the only Chinese to have ever won a Grand Slam. “Li Na is such an icon.

Chinese filmmaker Peter Ho-Sun Chan will direct a feature about tennis star and national icon Li Na, who won both the French and Australian Open titles but was forced to retire last year after repeated injury problems. Everything she stands for is so atypical of conventional Chinese behavior, and so typical of the generation of people born in the 1980s,” Chan told Variety. “This is the generation that today is calling the shots.” Chan’s We Pictures is leading the production and his We Distribution is handling pre-sales outside China. I’m mesmerized by what she has been able to accomplish and what she represents as a symbol of hope for millions of people around the world.” Chan said. Alibaba’s Yulebao crowd funding platform would likely be involved as a partner, but Chan says he would limit it to no more than 10% of the production budget. She also won the 2014 Australian Open and rose to a career-high No. 2 in women’s tennis before she suddenly departed the game in September because of chronic knee injuries.

In China, where tennis is very much a minority sport, she is a national hero, and she is famous for her jokes about her husband, who helped build her career. “The story between her and her husband is very atypical, in fact a lot of things with Li Na are very atypical for Chinese people. Li, who frequently clashed with the Chinese tennis federation over issues including prize money, put the sport on the map in her home country, where tennis participation has doubled in the past six years.

Chan and Li are represented by WME | IMG, which negotiated the deal and brought the two parties together following the acquisition of IMG by WME last spring. Chan is auditioning both actresses and sportswomen for the lead role and expects to announce a decision by July in order to begin several months of training ahead of a late 2015 production start. She appears quite satisfied with the filmmaker and the way he has been approaching. “I am very humbled by the fact that a director of Peter Chan’s talent is going to direct it. Some of the best movies in China that have come out in the last couple of years have been made by Peter,” Li Na said. “I feel like my story is in good hands with him.

She subsequently published the autobiography from which the screenplay has been adapted. “After my two latest films that examine contemporary Chinese society, but with an older age group, I had to make this one,” Chan said. This is really a story of achieving independence on her own terms and I related to it very personally,” said Chan, who admits he had not previously been a tennis fan. He could choose an A-list actress and have her coached in tennis or find a tennis player and train the athlete in the art of acting. “We have not decided on a candidate yet,” Mr. Li became the first person from Asia to win a tennis major when she won the French Open in 2011 and followed that up with the Australian Open title in 2014 before injury ended her career later that year.

Li is also expecting her first child with her husband, Jiang Shan (also known as Dennis), who became something of a celebrity in his own right during her career. Li’s matches and she would often joke about him in post-match interviews. “Dennis is always good,” she told the Journal. “He is a very lucky man that he found me, right? He is the best partner I could ever have, and I can’t wait for him to become a father.” An English translation of her autobiography was published in 2013, two years after the release of the Chinese-language version. When it was released, she said she wrote it so that people would understand that she is more than just an athlete. “I want people to know exactly how my life was when I was growing up,” she said.

It’s going to take time but it’s going to happen,” she said. “I really hope that I am not the most successful tennis player from China because I hope that there will be someone else that does better than me and breaks all my records.

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