Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Ron Howard has been tapped to direct a biopic on pianist Lang Lang, based on Lang's memoir Journey of a Thousand Miles that he wrote with David Ritz.
The untitled film will be shot in China and the United States and will feature both Mandarin and English.
Brian Grazer is producing through his and Howard's Imagine Entertainment. Lang is executive producing along with Jean-Jacques Cesbron, Michele Anthony and David Blackman. AGC Studios is financing the film.
Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney are penning the screenplay. The project will be Howard's next film following Thirteen Lives about the Thai Cave rescue.
Lang, born in China, is one of the world's most famous, contemporary classical pianists.
"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," Howard and Grazer said in a joint statement.
"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," Lang said.
Chinese American filmmaker Lulu Wang (The Farewell) questioned on Twitter whether Howard was the correct choice for the biopic.
"As a classically-trained pianist born in China, I believe it's impossible to tell Lang Lang's story without an intimate understanding of Chinese culture + the impact of the Cultural Revolution on artists & intellectuals + the effects of Western imperialism. Just saying," Wang said.
"I'm not saying this because I want to direct this movie. I do not. I just don't think these are the artists to grapple w/ the cultural specificities of Northeast China where Lang Lang (and my family) are from. Or w/ the cultural aspect of the physical violence in his upbringing," she continued before referencing Disney's recent live-action adaptation of Mulan.
"Have we learned NOTHING from Mulan? I haven't said anything because yes representation and many people I love are involved, but I just have to. Just HAVE to. Because 2020 man...and I'm [expletive] exhausted."