Another story about crazy rich Asians is coming to the big screen—this time it’s real life.
The saga of how billions of dollars were looted from Malaysia’s state investment fund 1MDB and brought down the former prime minister, as chronicled in a book by Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, will be retold in a movie produced by Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh (who played the role of matriarch Eleanor Young in Crazy Rich Asians).
The rights to the movie were acquired by production house SK Global, which has a keen interest in Asia-focused films (paywall)—its subsidiary Ivanhoe Pictures co-produced and invested in Crazy Rich Asians. Yeoh signed a deal in August with SK Global that includes acting, directing, and producing opportunities. The actress also recently plugged the book on her Instagram account.
The book, Billion Dollar Whale, centers around Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, the “whale” of the book’s title. Low allegedly moved billions of dollars from 1MDB through a series of Swiss banks and shell accounts—squandering it to pay celebrities to hang around him at parties, to fund an over-the-top movie about a Wall Street swindler starring Leonardo DiCaprio, to buy a luxury yacht, to buy art kept hidden in a Swiss warehouse for the ultra-rich, and to pay for lots and lots of champagne. His whereabouts are unknown. In a recent statement, Low denied any wrongdoing.
Leo won’t be the only Hollywood celebrity whose role Yeoh will have to cast for. So glamorous and extensive was Low’s wheeling and dealing that a whole host of other stars, including Paris Hilton, Miranda Kerr, and Jamie Foxx, were drawn into the financier’s orbit.