Hong Kong director Peter Chan (陳可辛) is gearing up to film a biographical movie about mainland Chinese tennis champion Li Na (李娜). Although she retired from the sport last September due to chronic injuries, Li Na is renowned as a legendary tennis star, a two-time Grand Slam winner, and the only Asian tennis player to ever pick up a Grand Slam title.
Simply titled Li Na <李娜>, the biopic is backed by an impressive investment of 150 million HKD and is expected to begin filming at the start of next year. However, Peter Chan is currently embroiled in the decision of who should portray Li Na on the big screen. The actress who lands the role of the leading lady is certain to gain international attention and make headway in the overseas film market.
Peter Chan’s main criterion for the part of Li Na is that the actress “must have the temperament of an athlete, with agile hands and feet.” He added that she must also “go through special tennis training for half a year in order to appear more convincing.” Confirmation of the leading actress is expected to come in July.
At the moment, netizens appear to be favoring mainland Chinese actress Tang Wei (湯唯) and Hong Kong-based actress Isabella Leong (梁洛施), since both women are 5 feet six inches tall, the same height as Li Na. In particular, many feel that Tang Wei embodies the tennis champion’s toughness and strength.
Other netizens are putting their support behind Vicki Zhao (趙薇), who recently won Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards, claiming that her appearance and temperament are similar to that of Li Na. Li Bingbing (李冰冰) and Fan Bingbing (范冰冰) have also been brought up as possibilities, with netizens citing their international appeal.
Li Na will serve as a creative advisor for the film. The movie will be adapted from her autobiography, Li Na: My Life <獨自上場>. She is currently expecting a child with Jiang Shan (姜山), her husband and previous coach.
This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.