Participant and PSE will produce the narrative feature, which Lin will direct from a script written by Kenneth Lin (Star Trek: Discovery and House of Cards) and James Schamus (Indignation, writer/director/producer; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, writer/producer).
Justin Lin will also produce the project through Perfect Storm along with Ernesto Foronda and Elizabeth Urwin for the company. PSE picked up the Sung family’s life rights following the 2016 Toronto Film Festival and attached Kenneth Lin to write the screenplay.
Also producing is Academy Award-nominee Mark Mitten. The executive producers are Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Anikah McLaren, along with Oscar nominee Steve James.
James directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary feature Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which Mitten produced and also focuses on the Sung family’s story, as well as acclaimed docuseries America to Me and City So Real, both from Participant.
“Now more than ever it feels essential to see people standing up for what’s right in the face of social injustice,” said Justin Lin.
He added: “I was very moved when I heard about the Sungs and their courageous journey, and having the honor of getting to know this remarkable family only solidified how important and inspiring their story is.
“Abacus is a rich, poignant American story that needs to be told, and I am so thrilled that Participant is joining us to tell it.”
James Schamus said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Kenneth Lin and the entire Abacus team to tell the story of the Sung family’s courageous, and unexpectedly perilous, pursuit of the American Dream – a story, like the country we’re living in today, at once heartbreaking and hopeful.”
David Linde, CEO of Participant, commented: “Simply put, we are just thrilled to be working with such wonderful artists as Justin Lin and Kenneth Lin. And working alongside such good friends as Steve James, Mark Mitten, and now James Schamus, is a beautiful recipe for a wonderful film.”
Abacus is inspired by the true-story of the Sung family, whose family-run bank was the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges during the 2008 financial crisis, forcing them to defend themselves and their business’ legacy in the Chinatown community.
Lin most recently directed and produced Fast & Furious 9 for Universal Pictures, which is scheduled for release in 2021.