Will Sharpe Is Set to Direct Crying in H Mart Film Adaptation

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Michelle Zauner may be best known for her work in the band Japanese Breakfast, but her stunning memoir Crying in H Mart spent over 60 weeks on the New York Times’ bestsellers list. Critics were struck by the honest capturing of a life stretched between cultures and across continents. Zauner uses her mother Chongmi’s Korean cooking to map the unmarked terrain of grief in the wake of Chongmi’s death from cancer at 56.

The film is set to cover the same arc, according to an official synopsis from MGM, it will chart a half-Korean daughter’s journey back to Oregon to care for her mother where they “see and accept one another through the formative power of music and the vibrant flavors of Korean cooking.” Now, according to People, this adaptation has found a director: Will Sharpe. Most recently, the filmmaker-actor is best known for his depiction of Ethan in The White Lotus and his direction of The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

In a statement, Zauner explained why Sharpe was chosen: 

“It was a daunting task, to find someone I could trust with the retelling of such a personal story. 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. 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. They are a precious collection of talents that make him the perfect fit for this film.” 

Sharpe himself tied his own experience as a child of immigrants to Zauner’s experience. When People reached out to discuss the future of Crying in H Mart, Sharpe pinpointed the “descriptions of being jet-lagged in your family’s kitchen” as details that spoke to his experience “as somebody who is half-Japanese, half-British, spent my childhood in Tokyo.” He later elaborated, “I found that it felt universal in its specificity,” and it was the detailed eye in the writing that propelled him to direct the adaptation.

Beyond this, no further details have been released about the film. But considering Zauner believes she has found the perfect person for the adaptation, the progression of Crying in H Mart will be one worth following.

London-based film writer Anna McKibbin loves digging into classic film stars and movie musicals. Find her on Twitter to see what she is currently obsessed with.