EXCLUSIVE: Lan Samantha Chang’s novel The Family Chao is getting a series adaptation after Sam Esmail and UCP optioned the rights to the book.
Esmail will develop the adaptation via his Esmail Corp. banner, which has a deal at the Universal Studio Group division. He will exec produce alongside Chad Hamilton and Chang with Eli Kirschner as co-executive producer. The team is currently searching for a writer to adapt.
The book was published last month by W. W. Norton & Company. The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Chinese food for thirty-five years, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. Whether or not Big Leo Chao is honest, or his wife, Winnie, is happy, their food tastes good and their three sons earned scholarships to respectable colleges. A mysterious death in the restaurant reunites the Chao brothers in Haven and family’s secrets and simmering resentments erupt at last.
Chang is the author of short fiction collection Hunger and three novels – Inheritance, All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost and The Family Chao. She is repped by CAA and Jin Auh at The Wylie Agency.
It is the latest development project for the Mr. Robot creator, who recently scored a series order at Apple for his adaptation of Fritz Lang’s classic 1927 film Metropolis. He also has Angelyne, Battlestar Galactica, Gaslit and The Resort lined up. He is repped by CAA and attorney Jeff Frankel.
“I’m thrilled to be working with UCP and Esmail Corp.,” said Chang. “I know Sam and his team will bring the Chao family and the mystery surrounding their small-town Chinese restaurant to life on the screen.”
“A modern retelling of The Brothers Karamazov, The Family Chao centers a complex family drama against the backdrop of a murder mystery,” added Esmail. “Expertly drawn characters drive this gripping narrative, exploring themes of race, family, betrayal, and the immigrant experience in America – all without being didactic. Lan Samantha Chang’s character-driven story lends itself perfectly to the medium of television, and we’re thrilled to help bring her vision to the screen.”
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