Japanese Breakfast Taps Will Sharpe To Direct 'Crying in H Mart'

Japanese Breakfast Taps Will Sharpe To Direct 'Crying in H Mart'

The Venn diagram of White Lotus fans and Japanese Breakfast stans just got a bigger overlap section. BAFTA-nominated writer and director Will Sharpe is set to direct the film adaptation of Michelle Zauner's hit memoir Crying in H Mart.

Originally conceived as an essay for The New Yorker in 2018, Crying in H Mart explores Zauner's relationship to her Korean identity while growing up in Oregon, her mother who she lost to terminal cancer and her beginnings as a musician, all while pairing key moments in her life with mouthwatering descriptions of the food that played an influential role along the way. The memoir was quickly snapped up for a book deal and then spent 60 weeks on top of The New York Times’ Best Sellers list after it debuted in April 2021.

Just a few days after dropping her hit album Jubilee, Zauner announced that MGM's Orion Pictures had acquired the film rights to the book, with her band Japanese Breakfast reportedly on board to soundtrack the forthcoming feature, telling Consequence last year that she had already finished the first draft of the screenplay for the adaptation.

"It was a daunting task, to find someone I could trust with the retelling of such a personal story," Zauner said of the search for a director for the project. "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."

Zauner went on to add: "In that spirit, I am so relieved to have found Will Sharpe and am beyond delighted that he will be the director of Crying in H Mart. 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 speaks 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."

Sharpe, whose previous directing credits include the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring The Electrical Life of Louis Wain and the HBO miniseries Landscapers, explained that he personally resonated with the memoir, sharing a similar cultural background as Zauner. "There were lots of things that resonated with me as somebody who is half-Japanese, half-British, spent my childhood in Tokyo," Sharpe told People. "Some of the descriptions of being jet-lagged in your family's kitchen felt very familiar to me."

Photography: Tonje Thilesen