Justin Lin is set to direct Abacus, a new drama set during the 2008 financial crisis. The film is based on the true story of the Sung family, whose family-run bank was the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges during this time period, forcing them to defend themselves and their business’ legacy in the Chinatown community.
Kenneth Lin (Star Trek: Discovery, House of Cards), who has been attached to the project since 2016, is penning the script with James Schamus (Indignation, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), with the helmer producing via his Perfect Storm banner, which snagged the life rights to the Sung family following the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
“Now more than ever it feels essential to see people standing up for what’s right in the face of social injustice.” says Lin. “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.”
Lin is joined by producer Academy Award-nominee Mark Mitten, and by Perfect Storm’s Ernesto Foronda and Elizabeth Urwin, along with Participant, which is announcing its involvement as of Tuesday as producers.
Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Anikah McLaren will exec produce along with Oscar-nominee Steve James, who 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.
“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.” stated Schamus.
“Simply put, we are just thrilled to be working with such wonderful artists as Justin Lin and Kenneth Lin.” Participant CEO David Linde adds. “And working alongside such good friends as Steve James, Mark Mitten, and now James Schamus, is a beautiful recipe for a wonderful film.”
Lin most recently directed and produced F9: The Fast Saga for Universal Pictures, which had its May 22, 2020 release pushed to April 2, 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The filmmaker also has his hands on television, shepherding in good company the hit Cinemax martial arts drama, Warrior, which bows its second season in October.
Lin is represented by CAA and Sloan Offer Weber Dern.