“The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons would join the cast of a film about a weirdly sensational Chinese-American friendship, based on a true event.
BuzzFeed editor and writer Matt Stopera and Li Hongjun (“Brother Orange”) pose with Ellen DeGeneres during Li’s U.S. trip. [File photo]
The actor will play the role of BuzzFeed editor and writer Matt Stopera in the upcoming movie, which tells the true story of Stopera’s life. In 2014, his phone was stolen while he was at a bar in New York City. A year later, the cellphone made its way to China and random pictures began appearing on his photo stream, including a number of pictures of a Chinese man in front of an orange tree.
This encouraged him to write a series of stories about his experience. When his story went viral in China, Stopera had the chance to meet the man, Li Hongjun (“Brother Orange”), in Meizhou, Guangdong Province, who had his iPhone. The story exploded on social media platform Weibo, gaining more than 20 million views in 24 hours and over 100 million total shares. Back in the U.S., the two became overnight stars and appeared on The Ellen Show.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Warner Bros. and BuzzFeed Motion Pictures teamed up with Parsons and the actor’s partner, Todd Spiewak, under That’s Wonderful Productions, to produce the upcoming untitled film of the internet phenomenon.
Stopera is executive producing the Brother Orange film alongside “Broad City” co-creator Ilana Glazer, Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman. Michael Shamberg and Matthew Henick, head of development at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, will also serve as producers.