Picturestart has acquired the rights to the Mary H.K. Choi novel “Yolk” to adapt as a television series, Variety has learned exclusively.
“Yolk” is about two twenty-something Korean sisters in New York — Jayne and June. One has cancer, the other has health insurance, so they swap identities based on the oldest gag in the racism book: All Look Same. By “swap,” June means stealing her little sister’s identity without her knowing because they’re long estranged. And when Jayne finds out, she extorts her big sister for a room in her baller Manhattan apartment. Tit for tat. Of course, deep down they need each other, though they’d sooner die than admit this. And now June might really die, especially if Jayne flunks out of fashion school and loses “their” health insurance. As they struggle to understand each other, the one thing they can agree on? Mom and Dad can’t know about any of this.
Choi and Jessica O’Toole (“XO Kitty,” “Jane the Virgin,” “Charmed”) are adapting the book for the screen with O’Toole also serving as showrunner. Picturestart’s Erik Feig, Samie Kim Falvey, Emily Wissink, and Julia Hammer will executive produce along with Jermaine Johnson of 3 Arts and Lulu Wang and Dani Melia of Local Time.
“Mary is quickly proving herself to be the voice of a generation, applying her keen observational eye to the universal themes of family, identity, and belonging in this peerless coming-of-age story,” said Feig, who is the founder and CEO and Picturestart. “She’s viciously funny but deeply empathetic at the same time, and the moment we read ‘Yolk,’ we knew it was a series we had to make at Picturestart—and we knew Mary had to be the one to adapt it.”
In addition to “Yolk,” Choi’s other books include “Emergency Contact” and “Permanent Record.” She also hosts the podcasts “Hey Cool Job” and “Hey Cool Life.” Her written work has been seen in publications like The Atlantic, The New York Times, and GQ. She has also written comic books for both Marvel and DC.
She is repped by UTA, Literary, 3Arts, and Yorn Levine Barnes Krintzman.
Wang and Melia’s Local Time is currently producing the Amazon series “The Expatriates,” based on the novel by Janice Y.K. Lee. Wang is directing and showrunning that series. Variety exclusively reported in November 2021 that Local Time and Riz Ahmed’s Left Handed Films have partnered to develop the series “Son of Good Fortune” at Amazon as well. Other projects include the feature “Children of the World” and an adaptation of Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Like Father Like Son.”
Wang and Local Time are repped by UTA, Redefine Entertainment, and Yorn, Levine, Barnes. O’Toole is repped by Verve, Sugar23, and Goodman Genow.