Hong Kong filmmaker Peter Ho-sun Chan will produce and direct a biopic of Chinese tennis player Li Na, based on her best-selling autobiography Li Na: My Life.
Li Na, who was ranked world number two in 2014, will serve as a consultant on the project, which is scheduled to start shooting in autumn 2015 for release in 2016.
Li Na is the only Asian tennis player in history to win two Glam Slam singles titles (at the French Open 2011 and Australian Open 2014). She retired from professional tennis following a knee injury at the end of 2014.
“I am honored to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tell my life story through a film and work with such an accomplished film director as Peter Ho-Sun Chan,” said Li Na in a statement.
Chan plans to shoot the film in locations such as Germany, France and Australia, as well as Chinese cities including Wuhan, where Li Na grew up, and Beijing. “My last two films have also been based on real events and people, so my regular writer suggested Li Na as an appropriate project,” Chan told Screen.
He added: “This film won’t just be a biopic but in tracing Li Na’s life it will also follow how China has evolved over the past few decades.”
Alibaba Motion Pictures is likely to be involved in financing the project, under Chan’s deal with the movie arm of the ecommerce giant. Chan said it was possible that Western financing would also be involved in the film.
Chan’s last two films, American Dreams In China and Dearest, were huge hits in China. American Dreams told the true story of three friends who build an English tutorial empire, while Dearest dealt with the issue of child kidnapping.
Chan’s We Distribution is launching international sales on Li Na: My Life at Cannes.
Chan and Li Na are represented by WME IMG, which negotiated the deal and brought the two parties together following the acquisition of IMG by WME last spring.