great chinese art heist

Jon M. Chu is in high demand, and he continues to line up future projects. While the Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker had to drop out of the Willow Disney+ series, he has plenty of other options. The latest is The Great Chinese Art Heist, based on a GQ article about “a slew of museum art robberies that occurred in Europe, in which Chinese antiquities were stolen.” Chu will produce and direct the pic for Warner Bros.

Deadline has the scoop on The Great Chinese Art Heist, revealing that the ever-busy Jon M. Chu will direct the adaptation of the GQ article from Alex W. Palmer. The true story focuses on a series of “museum art robberies that occurred in Europe, in which Chinese antiquities were stolen, chiefly those that came from the country’s old Summer Palace which was raided in 1860 by French soldiers. No one knows who the thieves are, but the works of art continually wind up back in China. Essentially, there’s a new generation of wealthy Chinese people who are collecting artifacts from the old Summer Palace. Is China’s government behind the art theft wave? The feature questions who gets to own art, and who gets to own history and culture.”

This excerpt from article adds some more detail:

For much of the 20th century, China’s leaders hardly seemed to care about the country’s lost and plundered antiquities. Art was a symbol of bourgeois decadence, fit for destruction rather than preservation. By the early 2000s, however, China was growing rich and confident, and decidedly less Communist. The fate of the country’s plundered art was seized upon as a focus of national concern and pride…

Chu will produce and direct for Warner Bros., and the studio is currently looking for a writer. The film joins a growing list of projects Chu is working on. He was initially set to direct the Willow Disney+ series but had to drop out because the show is filming in the UK, and the UK lockdowns conflicted with the filmmaker’s personal schedule. But he’s still lining up other work. He was recently announced to direct the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Wicked. Chu is also supposed to helm the live-action remake of Disney’s Lilo and Stitch. And in 2019 it was announced he’d be helming a YA romance based on H.K. Choi‘s bestselling novel, Permanent Record. In addition to all of that, Chu’s film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights is set to hit theaters and HBO Max on June 18.

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