NEW YORK — Producer Diane Quon announced Sept. 6 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 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 a concentration camp during World War II. 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 Nikkei 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 World War II,” says 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 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 No. 11 on the iBooks bestselling lists. Ford’s third book, “Love and Other Consolation Prizes,” will be coming out on Sept. 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 15 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 representing the producers.