Hong Kong filmmaker Peter Ho-sun Chan has started production on his highly-anticipated biopic of mainland Chinese tennis champion Li Na.
Produced by Chan’s We Pictures, the long-gestating project marks the first time Chan has been in the directing chair since Dearest wrapped in 2014.
The Hong Kong-China co-production is scripted by Zhang Ji, who also wrote Chan’s Dearest and American Dreams In China, and produced by Jojo Hui Yuet-chun. It is shooting in Wuhan for a tentative late 2019 or early 2020 release.
In a recent online chat show, Chan revealed that he had, at one point in the film’s development, considered casting Tang Wei in the main role. But after much deliberation, he decided to cast a newcomer who has been in training for two years in order to realistically portray Li Na on the tennis court. The identity of the actress and the rest of the cast is currently being kept under wraps.
Over the course of her career, Li Na won nine World Tennis Association (WTA) singles titles including two Grand Slam singles titles at the 2011 French Open and 2014 Australian Open, which made her the first Grand Slam singles champion from Asia. She retired from professional tennis in 2014.