Fans of the novel, The House on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet will be excited to hear that Diane Quon has acquired the film rights to Jamie Ford’s bestselling novel, set in Seattle.
She and her producing partner Joseph Craig, of StemEnt, will produce the film, and actor/activist George Takei has signed on as executive producer. Ford will co-write the screenplay.
Based on a true story, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” Ford’s novel is a bittersweet tale about racism, commitment and enduring hope. It is a love story about two 12- year old friends, a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl, which delves into the ethnic tensions of the time and Japanese internment. The story also features the Seattle jazz scene and examines parent-child relationships.
In 1942, Henry Lee, a Chinese American boy in Seattle, falls in love with Keiko, a Japanese American girl, as she is sent to an Internment camp during WWII. Some 40 years later, he discovers the belongings of Japanese families, hidden in the basement of an old Seattle hotel.
Now a widower, Henry struggles to reconcile the past and the present–the things he did or didn’t do the things he said, and the things he left unspoken. Set during one a conflicted and volatile time in American history, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” tells a timeless tale of love lost, and found.
With a career spanning six decades, executive producer Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series “Star Trek,” in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But Takei’s story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in Japanese American internment camps during World War II, to becoming one of the country’s leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality, Takei remains a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture.
Takei was captivated by the Ford’s novel the moment he read it. “The book tells an intimate love story that is, at once, poignant and sweeping with historic magnitude, told against the backdrop of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII,” Takei said. “I saw the drama of enduring love–despite governmental racism, the passage of time and the vicissitude of life. I knew it could be a compelling film, and I am delighted to be part of the adventure.”
Released in 2009, the Random House novel spent over 130 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and has sold over two million copies worldwide. The novel went on to win the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His work has been translated into 35 languages and continues to sell 50,000 copies per year. In July, it ranked #11 on the iBooks bestselling lists. Random House will release Ford’s new novel, “Love and Other Consolation Prizes” on September 12th.
Ford’s great-grandfather immigrated from Kaiping, China in 1865. His name was Min Chung, but he changed it to William Ford when he was working in Tonopah, Nevada, where he was a mining pioneer. Ford’s great grandmother, Loy Lee Ford, was the first Chinese woman to own property in Nevada. An ethnic actor in Hollywood, Ford’s grandfather, George William Ford, changed his name back to George Chung in order to be cast in more roles.
Ford refused previous offers to adapt his novel, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” because the filmmakers wanted to change too many things about his story, including the ethnicity of his main character. He feels that Craig, Quon, and Takei will maintain the true spirit of his work.
The film is slated to start production in 2018 with Ford co-writing the screenplay.
About Diane Quon (Producer)
Diane worked 17 years at NBC and Paramount Pictures where she was last Vice President of Marketing. Now in Chicago, she is producing feature documentaries by Kartemquin Films (“Hoop Dreams,” Life Itself”) including: “Minding the Gap” directed by Bing Liu; “Left-Handed Pianist” produced with Chicago Tribune Arts Critic Howard Reich; and “The Dilemma of Desire” directed by Peabody-winning Maria Finitzo. Diane is a 2017 Film Independent Fellow.
About Joseph Craig (Producer)
With an extensive background in Marketing (Paramount Home Entertainment) and Market Research (NRG, Nielsen, NRGi, Live Theatrical Events and ERm) Joseph segued into writing/producing with the indie “Moving August” (2002). After starting a new independent market research company (ERm) with a partner, he was among the producers that brought the musical “Memphis” (2010 Best Musical Tony Award) to Broadway. In 2013, that same year saw the release of Kids for Cash of which he was an associate producer followed by the release of the movie version of the novel “Big Stone Gap” through Picturehouse. The short film “In Godless Times,” written and produced by Craig has inspired the upcoming feature “Going Off Script.” Upcoming projects produced by Craig include the feature length films “Camp Manna” (just finished post-production);” the moon, the stars and everything,” which he will direct and write; and the comedy “The Girlfriend Project” from his own screenplay.
StemEnt is a NYC based production company headed by producer, writer and director Joseph Craig. The first production from the company was the 2013 Broadway musical “First Date,” starring Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez in association with Junkyard Dog Productions. StemEnt produced two short films and is busy prepping three new TV series created by Craig for a new online platform.