'The White Lotus' Star Will Sharpe Is Directing 'Crying In H Mart' Film
The Japanese Breakfast frontwoman’s moving memoir is headed to the big screen.
Back in 2021, Michelle Zauner — frontwoman of the band Japanese Breakfast and NYLON It Girl — announced that her stunning memoir, Crying In H Mart, was heading to the big screen. Now, nearly two years down the line, it’s been announced that The White Lotus’ Will Sharpe has signed on to direct the project.
“It was a daunting task, to find someone I could trust with the retelling of such a personal story,” Zauner wrote of Sharpe’s involvment in a press release. “Someone who could honor my mother’s character and respect the darkest days of grief, and still make the coming of age of a half-Korean artsy outsider in a small Pacific Northwest hippie town seem real and cool. In that spirit, I am so relieved to have found Will Sharpe and am beyond delighted that he will be the director of Crying in H Mart. I believe his sensitivity, as a director and an actor, and his own personal experience, having grown up between two cultures, will be tremendous assets.”
Before being cast as the hot but quiet second-half to Audrey Plaza’s Harper on The White Lotus, Sharpe helped bring multiple films to live as director and writer. The English actor helmed and co-wrote the 2016 dark-comedy Flowers, which starred Olivia Coleman, as well as the 2021 film The Electrical Life of Louis Wain which starring Benedict Cumberbath. In fact, Zauner cites both of those films as major reasons as to why she chose him to direct Crying In H Mart.
“His work on Flowers and The Electrical Life of Louis Wain speak to his ability to conjure lofty, vulnerable performances, to find humor and grace within the tragedy of the everyday,” Zauner added. “They are a precious collection of talents that make him the perfect fit for this film.”
Orion Pictures acquired the rights to the book and is working on the screenplay. Stacey Sher and Jason Kim have signed on as producers, and Zauner’s band, Japanese Breakfast, will provide the film's soundtrack.
Crying In H Mart chronicles Zauners experience losing her mother to pancreatic cancer. Through the backdrop of traditional Korean dishes — and H-Mart, a supermarket turned safe haven — Zauner reconnects with her heritage and reflects on their relationship in heart wrenching detail.
Per the book’s synopsis, Zauner “tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence” and, “of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.”
Those who are familiar with Japanese Breakfast know that Zauner doesn’t shy away from grief. The band’s album Psychopomp was written while her mother underwent cancer treatments, and its following record, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, utilized the pain of Zauner’s mom's death to “explore the cosmos.” Crying In H Mart is no different — Zauner dives straight into her own trauma and wades her way out, one chapter at a time.
Though steeped in tragedy, Crying In H Mart includes joyful moments as well. In it, Zauner shares the start of her music career, the moment she met her husband, and her journey to self acceptance.
We can only hope the film adaptation will do it justice, but maybe bring some tissues just in case.
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