A crop of the cover of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. Image: First Second Books
Destin Daniel Cretton— director of the biggest movie of 2021 : Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—has settled on his next project. He’ll direct and executive produce a Disney+ adaptation of American Born Chinese, a 2006 graphic novel written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang . Kelvin Yu ( Bob’s Burgers ) will serve as show runner; he’ll co-write the series with Charles Yu (Westworld) and they’ll both executive producer with Melvin Mar (Fresh Off the Boat), Jake Kasdan (Jumanji) , Asher Goldstein (Short Term 12), and Yang.
“I feel so lucky to be working with this team,” Yang said in a press release . “Melvin Mar is a man with a vision, and I’m deeply grateful that he took this project under his wing. Kelvin Yu is a phenomenal talent. His script brings to television everything I wanted to get across in my book. And Destin Cretton... who in America isn’t a fan of Destin Cretton right now ? I can’t wait for him to bring his signature blend of action and heart to the show. When I was in high school, I was such a big Disney fan that I had at least one Mickey Mouse item on me at all times: a wallet, a watch, a belt buckle, a t-shirt, something. Being a part of Disney+ is a dream come true.”
American Born Chinese is a blend of action, comedy, and fantasy following a teenager named Jin Wang. One day at school he meets an exchange student and becomes “unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods.” Disney describes the show as “a genre-hopping action-comedy that explores issues of identity, culture, and family.”
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“Reading Kelvin’s riveting adaptation of Gene’s incredible novel had me laughing and crying and jumping out of my chair on every page,” Cretton said. “I feel deeply connected to the characters in this story and the brilliant team bringing it to life. This show is going to be unlike anything we’ve experienced on TV, and I can’t wait for the world to see what we’re cooking up.”
No word on when the show will go into production or could end up on the streaming service, but late next year or the year after seems like a safe bet.
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