EXCLUSIVE: Talk about a torn-from-the-headlines feature film. This might be the Chinese version of The Social Network. Just days ago, Jack Ma launched an IPO for Alibaba on the New York Stock Exchange and finished the day with his company valued at $231 billion — more than Amazon and eBay combined — and making him the richest man in China and among the richest in the world with $26.5 billion. There’s already a fully scripted feature film on his life that is ready to be shopped, and the people behind it are formidable.
APA soon will be shopping a script that Bruce Feirstein wrote, with Janet Yang producing. Yang, who worked for Oliver Stone and partnered with Lisa Henson, has been producing films in China including Shanghai Calling. There, she met Feirstein as he was rewriting and producing domestic audience films in China including Hong He (Red River) and writing about business subjects for Vanity Fair. Yang had the relationship with Ma, and she approached Feirstein; he has already completed a script that covers the period from Ma’s youth — he was profoundly influenced by Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to Hangzhou — and chronicles the founding of Alibaba in his garage in 1999 and the battle against eBay in China that he won.
Ma and his associates were interviewed, and the principals now will try to package it for an international co-production that will be shot in China, with some taking place in America.