New York-based FilmNation Entertainment has acquired the film rights to graphic novel “The Undertaking of Lily Chen.” It now plans to develop the material into a Chinese-language movie.
The book, written by Danica Novgorodoff, was inspired by an Economist article about the tradition of post-mortem marriage in China. The article reported about a black market for female corpses that has sprung up in parts of rural northern China.
When a young man is held responsible for his brother’s death in an accident his parents send him on a mission to acquire a corpse bride to accompany the brother into the afterlife. However, eligible dead girls are in short supply. And when the man falls for a willful, single woman, he has to decide whether to seduce her or kill her.
“Developing ‘The Undertaking of Lily Chen’ — a story inspired by local folklore, but very much a classic boy-meets-girl tale — is a logical next step to expand our business in the world’s fastest growing theatrical market,” said Rob Carney, FilmNation VP of international sales, who leads all Chinese strategy for the company. “FilmNation has had success selling English language films in China, and has handled Chinese films internationally.”
The deal was brokered by Brendan Deneen, head of Macmillan Entertainment, on behalf of Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon McIntyre Literary.
Deneen and Mark Siegel, editorial director of First Second, the graphic novel division of Macmillan, are attached to executive produce on behalf of Macmillan Entertainment.