The first project under the pact is “Yellow Face,” an audio adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s play of the same name that will be produced by Audible Studios in collaboration with Kim’s 3AD production company. Audible doesn’t have a release date for “Yellow Face” as yet.
“Yellow Face” addresses topics of race at the interaction of media and politics. It begins with the 1990s controversy over color-blind casting for the musical “Miss Saigon” — before spinning into a comic fantasy, in which the character David Henry Hwang (DHH) pens a play in protest, and Hwang unwittingly casts a white actor as the Asian lead.
Kim (whose credits include “Hawaii Five-0,” “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Lost”) is set to star as David Henry Hwang, with Leigh Silverman directing. “Yellow Face” will be produced under the aegis of the Audible Theater brand. Additional titles under this deal are currently in development.
In a statement, Kim said: “I’ve been a fan of David Henry Hwang, Leigh Silverman and Audible’s for a very long time, so teaming up all together is something I’m truly excited by, especially to work on ‘Yellow Face.'” He added, “It has always been a special play, and now to be able to bring it new life in an audio format represents an opportunity that’s both unique and innovative.”
“Daniel Dae Kim is a force,” said Rachel Ghiazza, EVP and head of U.S. content at Audible. “Audiences already know and love him as a powerful performer on stage and on screen, but he also advocates for marginalized people and is a champion of underrepresented voices — an incredibly important area of focus for Audible. Through our collaboration with Kim’s production company 3AD, we look forward to bringing diverse and thought-provoking stories to life.”
Audible over the last several years has made a series of similar production and development deals with notable creative partners. Those include President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground, George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani’s Hillman Grad Productions, Laura Dern and Jayme Lemons’ Jaywalker Pictures, Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit, Broadway Video, Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Productions, and SpringHill, founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
The roster of Audible Originals includes Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” series, performed by actors including James McAvoy, Kat Dennings and Michael Sheen; Maejor’s “Maejor Frequency”; and Leon Neyfakh’s “Fiasco: The AIDS Crisis” (the latter two of which were among Variety‘s best new podcasts of 2022).
Amazon-owned Audible’s catalog comprises more than 760,000 audio programs from audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers.