EXCLUSIVE: Awkwafina is about to blow our minds by pairing two unlikely things: Chinatown restaurants and the California punk scene from the 1970s and ’80s. The Crazy Rich Asians breakout and Jumanji: The Next Level star is collaborating with Topic Studios to develop a yet-to-be-titled feature film inspired by the Topic.com article “How Chinese Food Fueled the Rise of California Punk. Awkwafina is set to star and produce alongside Topic Studios.
Written by Madeline Leung Coleman, the article explores how, during the recession of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Chinatown restaurants from Sacramento to San Francisco started renting their banquet halls for rehearsal space and booking the young bands of nascent West Coast punk as dinner entertainment to bring in additional business. The article puts shine on these Chinese and Filipino restaurants and how they became some of California’s most important venues and the focal point of the seminal West Coast punk music scene. The project is being overseen by The project is being overseen by Ryan Heller, Topic’s SVP Film & Acquisitions.
“We couldn’t ask for a better partner to help us bring this vibrant world to life than Awkwafina,” said Maria Zuckerman, EVP of Topic Studios. “Madeline’s article explores an unexpected connection and collaboration which gave rise to an essential and very punk moment.”
Topic Studios recently produced Michael Angelo Covino’s buddy comedy The Climb which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. Other Topic projects include an extensive list of critically acclaimed titles including Julius Onah’s Luce, Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace, Kimberly Reed’s political documentary Dark Money and Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat starring Meryl Streep. Coming up next for Topic is Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse starring Toni Colette and Damian Lewis.
In addition to Crazy Rich Asians and Jumanji: The Next Level, Awkwafina starred in A24’s The Farewell directed by Lulu Wang for which she earned a Gotham Award for Best Actress. She was also nominated for a Critics Choice Award and a Golden Globe Award. She will also star in the upcoming scripted comedy, Nora from Queens for Comedy Central and will appear in a landslide of projects including the upcoming Marvel Studios film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the live-action The Little Mermaid, Netflix’s adaptation of Broadway’s The Prom, the animated Disney film Raya and the Last Dragon as well as Tate Taylor’s Breaking News In Yuba County.
Awkwafina is repped by UTA, Artists First and Schreck Rose.