EXCLUSIVE: Keeping in the spirit of their wildly popular To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and their recent follow-up To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, ACE Entertainment has optioned the rights to Abigail Hing Wen’s YA novel Loveboat, Taipei. The film was released on January 7 and has since topped the New York Times best-seller list.
Described as a hybrid of Crazy Rich Asians, Jane Austen and La La Land, Love, Taipei continues to feed the craving for more inclusive storytelling on TV and film — specifically for Asian American narratives. The story introduces us to 18-year-old Ever Wong, who is sent from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer. Ever is joined by 30 other students for the summer program — all of whom are a diverse array of Asian Americans. But what she thinks is a Summer program turns out to be a teen free-for-all that is dubbed “Loveboat”. Instead of calligraphy, the teens are into clubbing and instead of touring sacred shrines, they opt for drinking snake blood. The story is inspired by Wen’s own experiences in the program as a teen.
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“ACE Entertainment is the perfect partner to bring this story to life,” said Wen. “Their enthusiasm for telling authentic stories on screen was palpable when we first met and I’m a huge fan of what they did with Jenny Han’s work. I’m incredibly honored that this book has touched so many lives and is bringing people together in ways I never expected. With ACE on board, even more audiences will be able to experience the novel’s many diverse characters and the rich world that is Loveboat.”
“Abigail’s novel is a unique story and exploration of multifaceted identity and intersectionality, much in the same way Jenny Han’s To All the Boys novels were” adds Matt Kaplan, founder of ACE Entertainment. “She manages to explore complicated themes like identity and cultural expectations while also giving readers an authentic glimpse into the mind of an Asian American teenage girl. Her novel fits perfectly with the types of stories we are trying to tell at ACE and we are excited to bring this story to audiences around the world, while also staying true to the rich culture and history Abigail portrays in the book.”
The novel is published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Kaplan will produce with Max Siemers spearheading the project for ACE Entertainment. Wen will executive produce alongside Siemers.
In addition to the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before franchise on Netflix, ACE Entertainment was also the company behind the romantic drama Irreplaceable You and the sci-fi film Spontaneous. To add to their millennial-driven YA content, ACE is developing a slate of features including 10 Blind Dates based on the novel by Ashley Elston, Replica based on Lauren Oliver’s best-selling novel, the Vatican-based thriller White Smoke with Nicholas McCarthy attached to write and direct as well as the family comedy Runaway. Earlier this month ACE announced it had launched a television division which is behind the upcoming AMC series Fugee High and the Nickelodeon TV reboot of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Wen is repped by Joanna Volpe and Pouya Shahbazian of New Leaf Literary & Media and attorney Steve Younger of Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP.