It has been reported that Justin Lin will direct the film version of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, the recent Broadway comedy about an Ohio businessman navigating misunderstandings of language and etiquette in a second-tier Chinese city.
This is interesting. Lin is one of the few Asian American directors who have successfully broken into the Hollywood system. He is a friend of David Henry Hwang, who is a contributing writer of Lin’s blog www.YouOffendMeYouOffendMyFamily.com. But since his breakout Better Luck Tomorrow in 2002, Lin has mostly directed the Fast & Furious series, which, despite their ridiculous storylines, are not comedies. So how will Lin handle a story where most actions happen inside characters’ minds? How will Lin handle the story where intrigues and conflicts are resolved with words, not engines and horsepower?
To add to the intrigue is the similarities between the Chinglish plot and the current political scandal in China. Will Hwang milk this point in the screenplay he will adapt himself? If they were to film it in China, will China allow it?