George Takei to produce Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetThe film rights to Jamie Ford’s bestselling novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, have been acquired by producer Diane Quon along with iconic actor George Takei (Star Trek.)

Ford will be co-writing the screenplay and the film will be starting production in 2018, Deadline reports.

Here is the synopsis of the 2009 novel:

“The story follows Henry Lee, a Chinese American boy in Seattle who falls in love with Keiko, a Japanese American girl, as she is sent to an Internment camp during WWII. With themes of racism, commitment, and hope, the story is set in 1942 and later in 1986, when the belongings of Japanese families are discovered in the basement of an old hotel.  A widower now, Henry must reconcile the past and the present, the things he did or didn’t do, the things he said, and the things he left unspoken.”

Takei expressed his admiration for the source material in a statement:

“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…I was captivated by Jamie Ford’s novel when I first read it and visualized a compelling film in my mind’s eye. I saw the drama of enduring love despite governmental racism, the passage of time and the vicissitude of life. What a wonderful film it would make. Now we are beginning the exciting adventure of making it happen.”

Author Ford also talked about why he decided to give the film rights to this particular group of producers:

“The number one question I get from fans from all around the world is — will there be a film…I’m delighted to say yes because for years I said no to filmmakers who wanted to change too many things about the story (like the ethnicity of my main character). With this team, I’m confident that fans will get a satisfying film that remains true to the spirit of the book.”

With Hollywood’s disturbing tendency of whitewashing roles meant for Asians and Asian Americans, Ford’s concerns are valid. This adaptation of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet will be a welcome addition to the gradually growing repertoire of stories about Asians, including the upcoming adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians.

Watch this space for more news about the film adaptation of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.