EXCLUSIVE: Emmy-nominated actress Lucy Liu has signed on to star in the upcoming dramatic feature Rosemead directed by Eric Lin. Marilyn Fu (The Honor List, The Sisterhood of Night, Amazon Studios’s upcoming adaptation of 500 Words or Less) wrote the screenplay based on the award-winning Los Angeles Times article “A Dying Mother’s Plan” written by Frank Shyong.
Based on a true story that took place in the San Gabriel Valley, the film follows an immigrant mother (Liu) with terminal cancer who takes desperate measures to help her unstable teenage son as she uncovers his growing obsession with mass shootings.
Rosemead marks the feature directorial debut of Lin, who has worked as a cinematographer on high-profile festival films including The Sound of Silence, Hearts Beat Loud, I Smile Back and Equity.
“This heartbreaking, true story shines a light on how important it is to understand all aspects of mental illness, especially in Asian societies,” said Liu. “I’m excited to be working with Eric and Marilyn to tell a story within our shared culture, and to bring attention to the terrible stigma attached to this disease that can cause individuals and families to become ostracized in their own communities, or in this case, lose their lives.”
Fu, who is Taiwanese American, added, “Creating important roles for Asian women is one of my driving forces as a screenwriter. Not only do we need to see people on screen who look like us, but who feel joy, who struggle, and who confront obstacles, like us. Lucy is a pioneer in showing the power in representation, and the perfect conduit for this complicated woman.”
Lin was deeply moved when he first read Rosemead and he admits that it was like a script he has never read before. “It beautifully depicts how mental illness, and the shame of it, tests the fierce bonds of a Chinese immigrant family. I’m beyond excited to work with Lucy and to see her bring her fearless talent to a challenging role that we haven’t seen her take on yet.”
The announcement of Rosemead continues to push the needle in terms of well-rounded, inclusive narratives. In this case, the story gives a deep dive into an Asian narrative that is seldom seen, further showcasing the diversity within immigrant storytelling within the Asian diaspora.
“We were all haunted by Frank’s article; we could not shake it,” said Corkin, James, and Louie in a joint statement. “The story addresses so many timely issues, from mental illness to the immigrant struggle to mass shootings. But at its heart is a universal story about love, especially a mother’s love for her son and the lengths she would go to protect him, even from himself. We’re excited to work with Lucy, Eric, and Marilyn to bring this important story to life.”
The film will be produced by Andrew D. Corkin (A Vigilante, Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Theo James (How It Ends, Divergent) through their Untapped banner, alongside Mynette Louie (Swallow, The Tale) of The Population. Jeff Yang and L.A. Times Studios will executive produce. Shyong will serve as a co-producer.
Liu is a groundbreaking Asian American actress who has numerous film and TV credits. She is best known for her roles in iconic TV series and films such as Ally McBeal, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Charlie’s Angels. She most recently starred in the CBS All Access series Why Women Kill as well as Elementary, CBS’s modern procedural take on Sherlock Holmes.
Liu is repped by ICM Partners, Framework Entertainment, and Schreck Rose Dapello. Lin is repped by WME. Fu is repped by Jen Au Management and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.