JC Lee To Direct ‘Bad Genius’ For Picturestart and Picture Perfect – Deadline

Picturestart and Picture Perfect Federation have set JC Lee to direct the English-language remake of Thai hit Bad Genius and also announced key cast members as well as a raft of international presales.

Lee also takes co-writing credits for the English-language screenplay with Julius Onah, who was previously announced as the director. The pair previously collaborated on the Sundance 2019 title Luce, adapted from Lee’s original play of the same name.

Up-and-coming talents Callina Liang, star of ITVX teen drama Tell Me Everything, and Jabari Banks (Bel-Air) will star with veteran UK actor Benedict Wong (Doctor Stranger In The Multiverse Of Madness).

The English remake is billed as a high-stakes, high-octane thriller about a diverse group of young people who team up to fight the system of injustice and inequity and take down the rigged academic institutions around them. 

It is produced by Erik Feig and Jessica Switch at Picturestart with Patrick Wachsberger and Ashley Stern at Picture Perfect Federation. NBA heiress Mallory Edens’ Little Ray Media company is financing.

Executive producers on the project include Edens, Picturestart’s Julia Hammer and Wong.

The feature film, which begins production in May, has pre-sold to a slew of major distribution partners: comprising Australia (NZ Roadshow), France (Metropolitan), Germany and (Constantin), Italy (Leone), Japan (Gaga), Latin America (Sun), Scandinavia (Nordisk), Spain (Tripictures), UK (Studio Canal), Benelux (Belga), Middle East (Front Row) and Eastern Europe (Monolith)

“I am so excited to share a new take on what was already a wildly successful and remarkable film,” said Lee. “I can’t wait to work with this fantastic, innovative group of artists, drawing on our diverse array of real-world experiences to make a film as thrilling and fun as the original.”

“It is such a treat to work on this adaptation of Bad Genius, a timely and cool movie we love. Add in a talent as singular and aptly suited to the task as JC Lee, along with Benedict, up-and-comers Callina and Jabari, and our new partner Mallory Edens, and you have a title we are thrilled about,” said Feig and Wachsberger. 

Edens said she had fallen in love with the project due to the way the lead female character Lynn is written.

“She is a worthy protagonist because she’s a young woman who is highly intelligent, independent thinking and brave. She is also importantly flawed: as the title suggests, she does some ‘bad’ things,” said Edens.

“It’s the kind of female character I wish I had seen more of growing up, and I’m so excited to team up with Picturestart and Picture Perfect Federation to bring Lynn’s story to moviegoing audiences.”

 The original film, titled Chalard Games Goeng, was written and directed by Nattawut Poonpiriya and produced by Thai film studio GDH 559 Company Limited. 

On its release in May 2017, the film shot to the top of the Thai box office. It became the highest-grossing local film of the year and broke box office records in several other Asian countries, including China, making it the most internationally successful Thai film ever.

Bad Genius is Lee’s directorial debut, after taking writing and producing credits on Luce as well as The Morning ShowHow to Get Away with Murder, and Looking.

Liang is represented by Authentic Talent and Literary Management, Payne Management in the UK and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher. 

Banks, who stars as The Fresh Prince in Peacock’s hit series Bel-Air, is represented by WME, Frontline Management, and Granderson Des Rochers.  

Wong, whose other credits include Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Martian and KIck-Ass 2, is represented by Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof and Fishman.

James McGough and Christina Tajalli negotiated the deal on behalf of Picturestart. Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin negotiated the deal on behalf of Picture Perfect Federation. Andrew Kramer of Loeb & Loeb represents Little Ray Media. Lee is represented by CAA, Chris Donnelly at LBI Entertainment, and Erik Hyman at Paul Hastings. 

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Source of data and images: deadline

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