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HBO and Malaysia’s Astro Partner on ‘The Garden of Evening Mists’

British actors David Oakes and John Hannah (pictured) join a starry cast of Asian performers in upcoming movie “The Garden of Evening Mists.” The film is jointly produced by HBO Asia and Malaysia’s Astro Shaw, part of pay-TV giant Astro.

Theatrical releases are being planned, ahead of digital, linear and on-demand releases handled by HBO Asia across the 23 territories in its footprint. HBO sources told Variety that the company is negotiating to appoint an international sales agent.

Malaysian actress Lee Sin-je (“The Eye”,) Japanese actor Hiroshi Abe (“Thermae Romae,” “Godzilla 2000”) and veteran actress-director-producer Sylvia Chang (“Love Education,” “20:30:40”) are set as the leads in the adaptation of Tan Twan Eng’s novel of the same title. The novel was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2012.

It tells a tale of cultural complexity shortly after World War II in British-controlled Malaya. The story features a female law graduate who seeks a quiet life in the idyllic Cameron Highlands, but finds love and a common interest in gardening in the arms of a mysterious Japanese man.

The film is to be directed by Taiwan’s Tom Lin (“Starry Starry Night,” “Zinnia Flower’), from a screenplay by Scottish BAFTA-winning screenwriter Richard Smith.

“‘The Garden of Evening Mists’ is a profound novel, showcasing such beautiful cultural complexities which captivate the heart of its readers,” said Najwa Abu Bakar, head of Astro Shaw. “We are excited to bring this classic story to the silver screen with its global theatrical release, and happy to have assembled a dynamic and talented team of professionals to bring this work of art to life.”

Principal photography begins at the end of this month. The film is supported by the the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia.

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