Roxanne Messina Captor is directing the “Pearl,” scheduled to start production in 2016 in Zhejiang Province, Shanghai and Prague. Vilmos Zsigmond has been attached as the cinematographer.
China Film Group is financing the film. Buck won the Pulitzer Prize in 1931 for her novel “The Good Earth,” about the struggle of Chinese farmers, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938, “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.”
Buck spent most of her life in China, first as a missionary and later as a novelist who started writing to support her mentally challenged daughter in a special school. The story will take place following the Nanking Incident in 1927, which launched the struggle known as the “Ten Years Civil War” between Communists and Nationalists.
The Buck family escaped from Nanking with the help of Pearl’s family nanny to begin a new life in Shanghai. Buck left China in 1934 and never returned.
“The Good Earth” was made into a 1937 movie starring Paul Muni and Luise Rainer, who won an Academy Award for best actress.
Captor has been working on the project since 2012 when China Film Group came on board.
“I have been writing this project for some time, having read ‘The Good Earth’ at age 8,” Captor said. “Buck’s life intrigued me as she was a bigger than life soul who accomplished so much. The support of Juliette, Leehom and Jing along with CFG, CFCC, and CAA has been the push the film needed.”
Binoche, who won an Oscar for “The English Patient,” stars in “Clouds of Sils Maria” and will be seen next in mining rescue drama “The 33” opposite Antonio Banderas. She’s repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.