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Michelle Zauner Taps ‘White Lotus’ Star Will Sharpe to Direct ‘Crying in H Mart’ Film

Zauner will also provide soundtrack to her memoir’s adaptation via her Japanese Breakfast music project

Michelle Zauner Taps 'White Lotus' Star Will Sharpe to Direct 'Crying in H Mart' Film

Tonje Thilesen; Ben Weller

Will Sharpe, the writer, director, and actor who most recently starred on Season Two of The White Lotus, is on board to direct the film adaptation of Michelle Zauner’s memoir, Crying in H Mart. 

Sharpe’s involvement was confirmed a couple years after the film was first announced, back in June 2021. In a statement, Zauner — also well-known for her music as Japanese Breakfast — spoke about the “daunting task” of finding the right director to help adapt such a personal story. “Someone who could honor my mother’s character and respect the darkest days of grief, and still make the coming of age of a half-Korean artsy outsider in a small Pacific Northwest hippie town seem real and cool,” she said.

Of Sharpe, Zauner added, “I believe his sensitivity, as a director and an actor, and his own personal experience, having grown up between two cultures, will be tremendous assets. His work on Flowers and The Electrical Life of Louis Wain speak to his ability to conjure lofty, vulnerable performances, to find humor and grace within the tragedy of the everyday. They are a precious collection of talents that make him the perfect fit for this film.”

Zauner expanded Crying in H Mart from her 2018 New Yorker essay on grieving her mother’s death through food and cooking. She published the memoir earlier this year to critical acclaim. MGM’s Orion Pictures acquired the rights to the film adaptation, which will be produced by Stacey Sher and Jason Kim, with Japanese Breakfast providing the film’s soundtrack.

“It is a surreal thrill to have the opportunity to memorialize my mother in film, and I consider it of the highest honor to pursue that task alongside creative luminaries such as Stacey Sher, Jason Kim and Orion Pictures,” Zauner said in a statement.

In addition to putting out Crying in H Mart this year, Zauner also released her third Japanese Breakfast album, Jubilee, last Friday.

“It feels like a summer album to me,” Zauner told Rolling Stone. “I knew that I wanted my third album to be the most drama and the strongest foot forward — every muscle flexing and using all the tools that you have in the toolbox. Because by the third record, you should really know who you are and what you want to be doing as an artist. And I really wanted to go all out for it.”

This story was updated 3/20/23 @ 1:09 p.m. ET with news of Will Sharpe’s involvement as director.

From Rolling Stone US