Hong Kong playboy tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-tsung's offer of HK$500 million to the man who succeeds in marrying his lesbian daughter Gigi Chao is heading for the big screen.
British comic actor and filmmaker Sacha Baron Cohen has signed with Paramount Pictures to develop The Lesbian, a film based on the family drama that went viral around the world, according to showbiz media.
Variety and The Hollywood Reporter say the film will be produced through the Golden Globe-winning star's company Four by Two Films.
Cohen is also likely to star in the movie, but writers have yet to be confirmed. Cecil Chao was not available for comment, but Gigi Chao said she was not aware of the project as no one from Paramount or Hollywood had contacted her.
Asked if she was upset by the plan to turn the bizarre plot into a movie, Gigi Chao said: "I think it is just a manifestation of the deeper social issues at play. One has to admit that this situation is a bit comic and tragic at the same time."
Last month Cecil Chao, a 76-year-old property developer, offered HK$500 million to the man who succeeds in marrying his 33-year-old daughter after learning she had walked down the aisle five months ago in a civil ceremony in France with her female partner of seven years, Sean Eav.
The news went viral after it was reported in the South China Morning Post, and marriage proposals flooded in from all over the world.
Cecil Chao has never married but boasted in a 2001 interview of having had 10,000 girlfriends.
Gigi is the oldest of his three children, all borne by different mothers.
Film producer Peter Tsi Ka-kei said it was amazing how quickly Hollywood had picked up the idea. He said the story had universal appeal and it was a great premise for a comedy.
While it is not known whether the marriage bounty will ever be paid, Tsi predicted Hollywood would make the story sympathetic to gays.
"Being gay-friendly is politically correct in Hollywood nowadays," Tsi said. "It's a cute pitch. It's like how two generations of characters are learning to respect each other."
He said that as long as the film did not quote any real names and stated that it was inspired by a true story, the film company did not need to contact the family, or people involved.
Born in London, Cohen is a former stand-up comedian who rose to international fame with his controversial Da Ali G Show.
He won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for best comedy and, later, with the mockumentary Borat, he earned a Golden Globe for best actor.