Will Sharpe, who starred opposite Aubrey Plaza on Season 2 of “The White Lotus,” will direct the film adaptation of “Crying in H Mart,” the best-selling (and heartbreaking) memoir from Michelle Zauner, better known as indie rocker Japanese Breakfast.
As announced by the studio, Sharpe will take on the coming-of-age story about a half-Korean daughter who returns to small-town Oregon to care for her Korean mother. The project, which was first announced back in 2021 with Zauner herself writing the screenplay, is set at MGM’s Orion Pictures and is now moving forward under Amazon’s supervision. Amazon finalized its acquisition of MGM for $8.5 billion last spring, and the studio has been ramping back up with its recent hire of new film chief Courtenay Valenti.
“Crying in H Mart” follows the stories of Zauner and her critical, smothering mother Chong-mi as they struggle to understand each other across a cultural fault line, only learning to see and accept one another through the formative power of music and the vibrant flavors of Korean cooking.
Zauner is also playing a part in the film adaptation’s music — likely writing an original song or two but not composing the full score. Stacey Sher is producing the movie alongside Jason Kim.
Sharpe previously worked with Amazon on “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain,” which he directed and co-wrote. He’s also been a director on HBO/Sky’s “Landscapers” and on the dark comedy-drama series “Flowers” — both projects starred Olivia Colman. Sharpe is starring in the BBC thriller series “Giri/Haji.”
Sharpe told People, which first reported the news, that “Crying in H Mart” resonated deeply with him as he is half British and Japanese and spent much of his childhood in Tokyo.
“Some of the descriptions of being jet-lagged in your family’s kitchen felt very familiar to me,” Sharpe said. “I found that it felt universal in its specificity…in that it’s so lovingly detailed about the experience of growing up around Korean food and the cooking of Korean food.”
“His ability to find humor and grace within the tragedy of the everyday, and his own personal experience, having grown up between two cultures, make[s] him the perfect director for this film,” Zauner added in a statement to People.
Will Sharpe is repped by UTA, Independent Talent Group, and Artists Rights Group.