×

U.S. Producer Teams With Taiwan Legend on ‘Baby Steps’

Pic is a cross-cultural look at gay family issues

Stephen Israel, who produced Tribeca title “G.B.F.,” has teamed with Taiwanese filmmaker Hsu Li-kong to make “Baby Steps” a cross-cultural drama that thematically picks up from Ang Li’s “The Wedding Banquet.”

The $1.5 million co-venture pairs Israel’s School Pictures with Taiwan production shingle Tang Moon. It will be directed by Taiwanese-American actor Barney Cheng, making his feature helming debut.

Hsu, who produced “Banquet,” “Eat Drink Man Women” and “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” is set as exec producer. “This is the right film, at the right time,” he said.

Veteran Taiwanese actress Grace Guei plays the role of the mother to a gay couple seeking a surrogate child. American newcomer Michael Adam Hamilton also stars.

Production starts in Taipei on Dec. 22 with the Los Angeles segment set for mid-February.

“Twenty years ago, at the time of ‘Wedding Banquet,’ gay rights was the big issue, well, now we’ve all come out,” said Israel. “Now the issue is about parental rights, it’s about how to keep families together.”

“If anything it is about the mother’s coming out,” Cheng said.

Israel’s gay-themed “G.B.F.,” which premiered at Tribeca, will debut this month through VoD channels and is set for theatrical release in January.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • "Tezuka's Barbara" in competition at Tokyo

    ‘Tezuka’s Barbara’ and ‘A Beloved Wife’ Head for Tokyo Festival Competition

    Two Japanese films, “Tezuka’s Barbara” and “A Beloved Wife” have been selected for the main competition section of next month’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival will reveal the remainder of the competition and the bulk of its other selections later this month. To date the Japanese festival has only revealed its opening film (“Tora-san, [...]

  • Garin Nugroho film "Memories of my

    Indonesia Selects Controversial 'Memories' as Oscar Contender

    “Memories of my Body” directed by Garin Nugroho has been selected to represent Indonesia at the Academy Awards in the best foreign-language film category. The announcement was made on Tuesday by actress Christine Hakim representing the Indonesian Film Selection Committee. The fact-based film depicts the story of a young man from a dance troupe that [...]

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • The Moneychanger

    Toronto Film Review: ‘The Moneychanger’

    Uruguayan auteur Federico Veiroj (“The Apostate,” “Belmonte”) broadens his usual intimate dramatic scope to diminishing returns for his fifth feature, “The Moneychanger,” . Adapted from a novella by compatriot Juan Enrique Gruber, the period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) tale centers on the eponymous character, an amoral currency exchanger, who winds up laundering some of the dirtiest [...]

  • Send Me to the Clouds

    Film Review: ‘Send Me to the Clouds’

    The social and economic pressures felt by China’s “leftover women” — referring to those older than 26 and unmarried — are examined in “Send Me to the Clouds,” a rewarding dramedy about a 30-ish journalist seeking financial reward and sexual fulfillment after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Bold by mainland standards for presenting a positive [...]

  • Jamie Bell Without Remorse

    Jamie Bell Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse.” Stefano Sollima, who most recently helmed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” is directing from a script by “Sicaro” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. As previously announced, Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content