Amid a spate of anti-Asian hate crimes this past year, the story of Vincent Chin — the 27-year-old Chinese American brutally beaten and killed in 1982 by two former autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, who blamed him for the economic downturn in Detroit — has become the focus of renewed interest for the entertainment industry. One project that has been in development for some time is a limited series created, written and executive produced by Marilyn Fu, Variety has learned exclusively, from Amazon Studios in association with First Look Media’s Topic Studios. The Topic Studios project came to Amazon in 2020 and writing is underway.
The still-untitled project, based on the true story of Chin’s murder, will take place in Detroit during the devastating recession in the early ’80s, during which American car companies were being outperformed by Japanese automakers, fueling the racially charged atmosphere that led to Chin’s death at the hands of Ebens and his stepson.
Destin Daniel Cretton, known for “Just Mercy” and “Short Term 12,” has been tapped to direct and exec produce the series. Also exec producing are Mynette Louie of The Population, Asher Goldstein and Topic Studios’ Maria Zuckerman, Quan Phung and Michael Bloom.
“Now more than ever, Vincent’s story has so much to show us about racism in our country,” said Fu. “This series is a rallying call, a voice for the silenced, a chance for people to see themselves reflected in those they cross the street to avoid. This is how we can cut through the violence — by sharing our pain and acknowledging our collective humanity. Vincent’s death catalyzed important legacies, but at the end of the day, he was a human being with hopes and dreams just like me and you. I’m excited to tell this story with such a force of Asian Americans on board.”
Fu, known for “The Sisterhood of Night” and “The Honor List,” is represented by Jen Au Management, Frank Jung at CAA, and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano. She is also in the process of developing Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical Flower Drum Song — the first all-Asian cast to be featured in a motion picture — as a TV series with 3AD, Janet Yang and Concord.
Louie, who is repped by Granderson Des Rochers, recently produced Heidi Ewing’s Sundance-winning feature “I Carry You With Me,” which is nominated for two 2021 Independent Spirit Awards and a GLAAD Media Award.
Cretton and Goldstein are both repped by Simon Faber at Pangea, WME, and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher. Cretton recently completed filming “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings,” and is attached to direct and produce a series adaptation of the upcoming WWII book Facing The Mountain by Daniel James Brown.
Elsewhere, Gemma Chan, M88 and A-Major Media are producing a podcast of a table-read of “Hold Still, Vincent,” based on the real-life events of Chin’s murder, as previously reported in Deadline.