Producer Diane Quon announced today that she has acquired the film rights to the New York Times bestseller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet written by Jamie Ford. Joseph Craig of StemEnt will be producing the film with Quon and legendary actor George Takei has signed on as executive producer.
The film is slated to start production in 2018 with author Jamie Ford co-writing the screenplay.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is the story of 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. It is a bittersweet tale about racism, commitment and enduring hope–-a noble romantic journey 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. Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, this is a timeless tale of love lost, and found.
“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,” says exec producer Takei. “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.”
“The number one question I get from fans from all around the world is - will there be a film?," states author Ford. “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 or the book.”
Released in 2009, the Random House novel spent over 130 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and has sold over 2 million books worldwide. It continues to sell 50,000 copies per year, and as recent as this past July, it was ranked as #11 on the iBooks bestselling lists. Ford’s third book, Love and Other Consolation Prizes will be coming out on September 12 also from Random House.
“I read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet when it first came out in 2009 and- just like thousands of readers of the book- I thought the story would make a beautiful film,” states producer Quon. “Now, more than ever, is the right time to make this film. I am excited to work with such an exceptional team to bring this book to life.”
“I fell in love after reading the first fifteen pages of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and immediately knew that I had to be involved in turning it into a film" says producer Craig. "Jamie is a gifted storyteller and I am thrilled to join this talented team with my producing partner Diane Quon in bringing this much beloved bestseller to the screen."
The deal was brokered by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency, Kassie Evashevski of United Talent Agency, and attorney Wayne Alexander on behalf of Ford and attorney Joe Voss of Leavens, Strand & Glover represented the producers.
About Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Book)
Jamie Ford’s debut novel – Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet tells the story of a Chinese American boy who falls in love with a Japanese American girl as she is sent to an Internment camp during WWII. Forty years later, he discovers the belongings of Japanese families, hidden in the basement of an old Seattle hotel. As he searches, he struggles to reconcile the past and the present.
Published by Random House and released in 2009, the book spent 130 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has graced these bestseller lists as well: USA Today; Publishers Weekly; and Barnes & Noble.
About Diane Quon (Producer)
Diane worked 17 years at NBC and Paramount Pictures where she was last Vice President of Marketing. Now in Chicago, she is producing feature documentaries by Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself) including: Minding the Gap directed by Bing Liu; Left-Handed Pianist produced with Chicago Tribune Arts Critic Howard Reich; and The Dilemma of Desire directed by Peabody-winning Maria Finitzo. Diane is a 2017 Film Independent Fellow.
About Joseph Craig (Producer)
With an extensive background in Marketing (Paramount Home Entertainment) and Market Research (NRG, Nielsen, NRGi, Live Theatrical Events and ERm) Joseph segued into writing/producing with the indie Moving August (2002). After starting a new independent market research company (ERm) with a partner, he was among the producers that brought the musical Memphis (2010 Best Musical Tony Award) to Broadway. In 2013, that same year saw the release of Kids for Cash of which he was an associate producer followed by the release of the movie version of the novel Big Stone Gap through Picturehouse. The short film In Godless Times written and produced by Craig has inspired the upcoming feature Going Off Script. Upcoming projects produced by Craig include the feature length films Camp Manna (just finished post-production); the moon, the stars and everything which he will direct and write; and the comedy The Girlfriend Project from his own screenplay.
StemEnt is a NYC based production company headed by producer, writer and director Joseph Craig. The first production from the company was the 2013 Broadway musical First Date, starring Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez in association with Junkyard Dog Productions. StemEnt produced two short films and is busy prepping three new TV series created by Craig for a new online platform. Upcoming projects include the film version of the NYT best selling novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and the feature the moon, the stars and everything.
About Jamie Ford
Jamie Ford's debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and went on to win the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His work has been translated into 35 languages. His new novel, Love and Other Consolation Prizes will be published September 12, 2017.
About George Takei
With a career spanning six decades, George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But Takei's story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in Japanese American internment camps during World War II, to becoming one of the country's leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality, Takei remains a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture.