The ‘Chinglish’ Journal: A New Chapter

On January 29, 2012, CHINGLISH played its last performance on Broadway. Towards the end of 2011, I’d been encouraged as the annual “Top Ten Best in Theatre” lists came out from different publications and we made about a half-dozen of them. TIME Magazine even named CHINGLISH the Best American Play of the year. Our producers put up a new poster in Schubert Alley, at the heart of Times Square.

Still, we didn’t sell enough tickets each week to keep from losing money, so they eventually had to close the show. We ended up lasting about three months – a respectable run, though we certainly would’ve liked to have run longer. Although I’ve learned from my experiences that however long a show a runs, you always feel it should’ve run longer.

Should we have cast a big movie star in the play? In retrospect, that would probably have helped us sell tickets and stay open. Nevertheless, I appreciate that our producers loved this show enough to gamble on going into the cutthroat commercial market of Broadway without one. I’m proud they were brave enough to buck that trend.

CHINGLISH closing night on Broadway

Even before the show closed, there were encouraging signs that CHINGLISH’s journey was not yet over, including lots of interest in future productions, around the country and the world. I can’t report much yet on that front, except that the first post-Broadway production has already been announced, for the San Francisco Bay Area, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre this fall. More to come.

And over the past few weeks, something completely surprising: a scandal in China bears an eerie resemblance to my play. When the story of former Communist Party Chief Bo Xilai, whose wife has been arrested for the murder of a British businessman, began to break, journalists and China experts who had seen my show began emailing me: “It’s CHINGLISH as a murder mystery!” “CHINGLISH a la Agatha Christie.” NEWSWEEK and THE DAILY BEAST asked me to write a piece, and the magazine’s editor, Tina Brown, interviewed me about all the parallels.

Back in December 2011, Offenders Justin, Elaine, and Phil came to see CHINGLISH on Broadway, and we began to discuss the possibility of working on a movie version of the play. I very much appreciated others who also made offers for the film rights. But I’ve admired Justin as a director and artist ever since he burst out of the gate with BETTER LUCK TOMORROW, we’ve now known each other for a few years, and have been looking for a project to do together. Not to mention, our YOMYOMF connection. So I’d always imagined that, if Justin and Elaine were interested in CHINGLISH as a movie, I’d want to join creative forces with them.

Offenders Justin & Elaine take a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge before heading over to catch CHINGLISH.

Fortunately, they were interested. So today, we are announcing that Offender Justin and Barnstorm Productions (under the leadership of Offender Elaine), have acquired the film rights to CHINGLISH. I couldn’t be more excited about working together to bring this story to the screen. The creative meetings we’ve had so far feel really easy, fun, and natural. Like we’re just a group of friends, sharing similar tastes and concerns, working to make a movie.

Or like three Offenders, working to put out a blog.

25 thoughts on “The ‘Chinglish’ Journal: A New Chapter

  1. horray for more AF/WM media images!

    down with the evil AM sexists!

  2. Wow didn’t see that coming. Asian female easily cheats on Asian husband with White male. Such fresh new idea.

  3. The movie’s going to be awesome. Hopefully they can add lines like “Love you long time” and “Happy Ending” because AFs aren’t portrayed as whores enough in the white media.

  4. @Eddie: it’s much more realistic, like all of our genius playwright DHH’s writings – like the Pulitzer winning M Butterfly, which is literally about emasculating the AM in order to show that occidentals don’t know what real Chinese people are like; DHH is showing them that AM and AF don’t all look alike by emasculating the AM – genius.

    and of course, having Bai Ling getting it on with WM shows the occidentals how much Chinese culture loves them long time. because you know that Asian-Americans don’t have any culture worthy of portraying; not like Flower Drum Song that hows humanistic Chinese-Americans and immigrants.

  5. the fact that this show kept losing money and that Newsweek and other occidental media outlets want any sort of relevance to the Chinese leadership scandal just means it’s serving propaganda purposes.

    why do these mediaheads keep whining that APAs don’t support their auto-racist media, when we’re telling them over and over again that we don’t want to see such racist and negative portrayals, especially when it’s generated by other Asians to pander to the white mainstream?

  6. David H Hwang must be related to the self hating Amy Tan family. How many wm/af plays is he going to write or be a part of? No normal Asian American male in their right mind will support this junk. And like Crazy MMer said, these types of movies/shows has been money losers yet they keep making them.

    I truly hope Justin Lin passes on this project. These types of plays/movies will only divide the Asian American community and provides no benefits to us. Only people that benefits is the ego of loser white guys.

  7. Justin Lin needs to go make that 442nd movie!

    learn from Lane Nishikawa and keep it about the fighting and only inject some small APA politics.

  8. makes the kkk inside me happy.keep bashing your own artistss make keep making shitting movies about gooks wit inch of joy complaining why they cant get laid. crazy m eddie superman john rove me long time

  9. Funny how the white guy in this comment section can’t even type properly in his “own” language. Speak English, son, or go back to whatever European country you done came from, you child-molesting donkey fucker.

  10. And these aren’t “our” artists. We have tons of artists who have plenty of better things to say and show, but they get shut down by the white media. If an asian comes up with a great story or accomplishes something noteworthy, the movie version of it is portrayed with white actors. “Extraordinary Measures”, “Save the Last Dance”, “My Sassy Girl”, “Dragonball Z”, “21″, “Shutter”, etc. are all of asian origin which then got raped by Hollywood execs. Even the Matrix and Star Wars series have huge elements stolen from asian cultures and stories, yet all the credit goes to white people.

  11. “Love me long time” is a white man’s creation. No asian actually says that. It would be like me writing a line for a white guy saying “I love that a black man is president”. Doesn’t happen in reality.

  12. Glad to hear that Chinglish will be a film! I’ve really enjoyed this journal and wish you all success! It’s really exciting because I feel (virtually) close to the process, having read this blog.

  13. one thing that I can respect this blog is at least they don’t censor [much] most of the time…

    wow Superman, I can’t believe they let that slide… reminds me of another certain “militant” website. lolz

  14. @superman, the whole adaptation and source material for “Hunger Games” is another discussion entirely…

    as far the most offensive movie in your list goes: 21 has to be it. not only is it based on and about an Asian-American, the actual dude (Ma) wrote that he can’t imagine anybody else to play him than John Sturgess.

    when you have people like that, it’s a lost cause and I might as well go play video games.

  15. so sad reading these comments- judging something so narrowly. I’m AM. I saw the play. Not offended at all. Don’t even know why I’m commenting here. Most of these posts are from nut jobs.

  16. Hey, kkk white boy, these sellouts are not “our” artists, and you are still an uneducated white trash. Learn some proper English, you idiot. And I would school you even more if the Man of Steel had not penetrated your anal cherry so forcefully for me, lol.

  17. this thread is an example of the worst of AM self hating. you guys make angry asian men look bad.

  18. I suppose both Burt and May probably weren’t offended either when Vincent Chin was beaten to death; and May probably turned on her Joy Fvck Club to revile on all the self hating AM too – because they at least make angry Asian men look like stereotypical weaklings the AF can despise when she’s out with her WM savior.

  19. Funny, if AMs stand up against the stereotypical portrayals of the asian and asian-american community, it’s called “self-hating”. I guess black people must be self-hating by not wanting to be portrayed as Uncle Toms, druggies, and criminals. If AMs stand up, they’re told not to be offended or to not get angry. If White Men stand up about anything, they’re given a network show, a radio broadcast, or even a whole channel named after a species of canid.

  20. when white kids talk about anything other than Avengers and Star Wars they get Pulitzer prizes and McArthur genius grants.

    meanwhile, people of color complaining about the racism inherent in something like KONY2012 they get shut out of media discussions.

  21. Crazy MM, Superman and Jay should really get a room. They already have their porn names picked out.
    And the title could be INCH BY INCH: PART III

  22. And this is why the black, gay, and Jewish communities continue to make progress while the asian-american community are still stuck in the 1800s. Blacks, gays, and Jewish communities stand up united with each other against any form of racism and degradation. Meanwhile, asian-americans get silenced by other asian-americans. Or white people posing as asian-americans.

  23. Hopefully Justin Lin secured the rights to this so he can change the story for the better. Because I find it hard to believe he would support something like this.

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