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Duncan native Ron Howard to direct biopic about celebrated pianist Lang Lang

Lang Lang [Photo provided]
Lang Lang [Photo provided]

Duncan-born filmmaker Ron Howard will direct an upcoming biopic on celebrated Chinese pianist Lang Lang, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

Stuart Ford's AGC Studios is financing the new film, according to the trade publication. Brian Grazer will produce through his and Howard's Imagine Entertainment shingle. 

"Bringing Lang Lang’s extraordinary childhood and career journey to the screen promises to be an amazing creative experience for all of us involved. I’m thankful for Lang Lang’s trust. I know it will be a personal adventure for me and an opportunity to really transport audiences," Howard said on Twitter

Lang Lang and Jean-Jacques Cesbron will be executive producers on the film, along with Polygram Entertainment's Michele Anthony and David Blackman.

A globally celebrated piano virtuoso, Lang Lang has sold millions of albums around the world, topping classical charts and achieving simultaneous mainstream success. He was nominated in 2007 for a Grammy Award, becoming the first Chinese artist nominated for Best Instrumental Soloist, and he was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. During the past decade Lang Lang has performed for music fans, world leaders, monarchs and dignitaries including President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth II. 

He has given sold-out performances at concert halls around the globe, with all the world's top orchestras and conductors. Lang Lang has reached televised audiences of billions, performing at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. His performances at the Grammys with Metallica, Pharrell Williams and jazz legend Herbie Hancock were hailed by millions of viewers.

The film, which does not yet have a title, will be based on the memoir "Journey of a Thousand Miles," by Lang Lang and David Ritz, which chronicles the musician's life story from his childhood in the industrial city of Shenyang in Northern China to the pinnacle of the classical music world. His parents, whose own musical careers were interrupted by China's Cultural Revolution, sacrificed virtually everything to help their son, a piano prodigy, achieve success. 

Ron Howard is featured on the "Today" show on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. [Photo by Nathan Congleton/NBC]
Ron Howard is featured on the "Today" show on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. [Photo by Nathan Congleton/NBC]

"Lang Lang’s story is one of determination, passion, sacrifice, and finding the inner strength to beat the odds," said Grazer and Howard in a joint statement. "This film is a bridge between two cultures that share universal truths about the gauntlets we face in the pursuit of greatness." 

Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney will adapt the book for Howard's movie.

"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 in a statement.  

The Lang Lang biopic will be lensed in China and the United States in both Mandarin and English.

Howard plans to begin shooting the Lang Lang biopic after finishing the fact-based drama "Thirteen Lives" for MGM. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that film centers on the 2018 rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave system in Thailand.

As previously reported, Howard, a two-time Oscar winner, recently gave a $90,000 gift to the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma to establish a scholarship to support students in the college’s Helmerich School of Drama who come from rural areas across the United States.

The scholarship is named in memory of Howard’s parents, Rance and Jean Howard, who were both born in Oklahoma and studied drama at OU before embarking on successful acting careers.


Related Photos
Lang Lang [Photo provided]

Lang Lang [Photo provided]

<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Lang Lang [Photo provided]" title="Lang Lang [Photo provided]"><figcaption>Lang Lang [Photo provided]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Ron Howard is featured on the "Today" show on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. [Photo by Nathan Congleton/NBC]" title="Ron Howard is featured on the "Today" show on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. [Photo by Nathan Congleton/NBC]"><figcaption>Ron Howard is featured on the "Today" show on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. [Photo by Nathan Congleton/NBC]</figcaption></figure>
Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1... Read more ›