Singles' Day

In the summer of 2018, New Line picked up a spec script from writer Lillian Yu called Singles’ Day, featuring a story set during the unofficial Chinese holiday of the same name. Now the new romantic comedy has a director: Jeff Chan, who co-directed last year’s indie rom-com Plus One.

Learn more about Singles’ Day below.

According to Deadline, Jeff Chan has officially been hired to direct Singles’ Day, an “Asian-centered romantic comedy” set on the unofficial Chinese holiday that’s viewed as a sort of anti-Valentine’s Day. Singles’ Day is meant to either celebrate the idea of not being in a relationship, or to provide a springboard for people to try to get together and end their single status. It takes place annually on November 11, because the date (11/11) features the most number ones possible, and naturally, the number one is associated with being single. (Side note: Singles’ Day has become the biggest shopping day in the world.) Here’s how Deadline describes the movie:

Featuring an ensemble cast predominantly of Asian descent, Singles Day weaves friends, romantic partners and family members through an interconnected story that explores the notion that being single doesn’t necessarily mean being alone.

Chan and his Plus One co-writer and co-director Andrew Rhymer are reuniting for this project, with Rhymer producing this movie and both Chan and Rhymer tackling a rewrite of Yu’s original screenplay. (They previously wrote on the Hulu series PEN15.) Chris Bender (Just Friends, We’re the Millers, Horrible Bosses 2) and Jake Weiner (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, My Spy, Mulan) are also on board as producers. No casting has been announced yet, but it seems like a good bet that Maya Erskine, who starred in both Plus One and PEN15, will end up having a role in this.

New Line is hoping to recapture some of the success Warner Bros. had with Crazy Rich Asians, and I’m pleased to see that studios are continuing to use that movie as a valid “comp” instead of viewing it as a one-off and learning the wrong lessons from its success. Singles’ Day will be the next in a growing line of films with Asian or Asian-American leads, and after decades of Asian actors being sidelined or minimized in Hollywood films, it’s about time that the industry is finally putting some of those experiences front and center. And while it’s still notable that a director of Asian descent is being put in charge of this movie, hopefully we’ll soon reach a point where the novelty has completely worn off and it will be so commonplace that we won’t even need to comment on the rarity of that type of decision.

Chan’s first feature, Plus One, is currently streaming on Hulu. I haven’t made time to watch it yet (it’s in my queue!), but Hoai-Tran Bui reviewed it for /Film at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and had some nice things to say about it:

Plus One wears its When Harry Met Sally influences on its sleeve — from the rapid-fire dialogue, to the multiple interludes of one-off characters giving hilariously bad wedding speeches (all based off of real speeches the writers’ heard), to the premise of friends falling in love. But Plus One isn’t a knock-off of one of the greatest rom-coms ever, it’s a deserving successor.

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