‘Ping-Pong Diplomacy’ Movie in the Works with Village Roadshow

Village Roadshow Pictures Asia is playing ping-pong, adapting Nicholas Griffin’s “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” as a movie with Story Mining & Supply Co. producing.

The project is in the early stages of development. Scribner published “Ping-Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World” in October.

The movie will focus on the 1971 Table Tennis World Championships in Japan, where American player Glenn Cowan accidentally stumbled onto the Chinese team’s bus after a practice.  The unlikely friendship that ensued between Cowan and Zhuang Zedong, China’s top player, set the media ablaze and drove both administrations scrambling at the highest levels.

The chance encounter led to an historic summit between Nixon and Mao, the first of its kind in over two decades.

Story Mining and Supply is financing and developing Iraqi war drama “The Yellow Birds” and announced during Cannes that Benedict Cumberbatch, Tye Sheridan and Will Poulter were attached.

Australia-based Village Roadshow Pictures has been the co-producer and co-financier of dozens of movies with Warner Bros. since 1997 including “The Matrix,” “Oceans,” “Happy Feet” and “Sherlock Holmes” franchises, “Mystic River,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Gran Torino” and “The Lego Movie.”

Village Roadshow Pictures Asia is engaged in the development, financing, production, marketing and distribution of films for Greater China and Asia. The majority of VRPA’s projects are structured as Sino-foreign co-productions and filmed in Greater China.

The company’s initial slate of films, all released in 2013, included Stephen Chow’s “Journey to the West” and Leste Chen’s “Say Yes”!” VRPA’s upcoming projects include “Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal,” “Mountain Cry” and “Polaroid.”

The deal for the movie rights was made by Kassie Evashevski and Johnny Pariseau at United Talent Agency, on behalf of Jessie Borkan at Kuhn Projects.

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