Hong Kong teenager's script to be made into a Hollywood movie
Sixteen-year-old's idea, based on his school experiences, set to hit cinema screens in 2014
When 16-year-old Jeremy Lin Chong-rang started writing a comedy based on his experiences in school, he did not expect Hollywood to pick up his script and turn it into a 90-minute film.
"I'm just some kid who wrote something and then they wanted to make it into a movie," said the Year 11 Chinese International School pupil.
Lin first pitched his idea to Los Angeles-based screenwriter and investor Fabienne Wen Pao-kuen at a film workshop last year. She encouraged him to produce a full-length script, which he did over the Lunar New Year.
Impressed, Wen brought the script to Hollywood's attention, which then started a bidding war among movie executives to produce the film.
Studio Best Medicine Production won. Angel Gracia, who directed the 2011 romantic comedy From Prada to Nada, takes the reins as director for the film. Brion Hambel and Paul Jenson, who together produced the 2011 comedy Natural Selection, are on the production team.
Even Canto-pop star Alan Tam Wing-lun was roped in as executive producer after Lin tracked him down to ask for his help and mentoring in the film. "He showed me the script and I took it home to read … I told him if he had enough funds, he should go ahead," said Tam.
Lin will join the team in Los Angeles for filming, which begins next month. The movie, called Senior Project, may well make him one of the world's youngest screenwriters.
Aimed at teenagers, Senior Project is based on the critically acclaimed 1980s coming-of-age comedy The Breakfast Club.
Lin's plot - which includes elements resembling his own experiences in school - revolves around five high-school students, including a gay teenager who lies about his sexuality and a student who tries to keep up with the appearances of being rich.
Lin said he believed movie executives enjoyed the absurdity of his script because the characters' experiences were relatable.
To improve the film's on-screen quality, the teen has launched a campaign under Kickstarter - a funding platform for creative projects - to boost the film's US$750,000 budget. Lin has raised HK$560,000 in donations so far. He hopes to bring that to HK$1.9 million before the campaign ends in two weeks.
Lin and his team plan to launch Senior Project next summer and to hold its premiere in Hong Kong.
Ted Faunce, Chinese International School's headmaster, said: "I am proud of Jeremy and of the innovative, can-do spirit that we cultivate at the school. It is exciting to be part of a school where 'Jeremy Lin' stories abound."