“Based on an actual lie.” A24 have released the first trailer for Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell,” starring Awkwafina. The film premiered at Sundance and is a comedy drama about familial grief and life, as told from the director’s own life experience.
The aforementioned lie is what significantly drives the film, as a family intends to keep their matriarch’s prognosis hidden from her. Billie (Awkwafina), who’s been American-ized, for better or worse, almost refuses to go on leading a lie to her grandmother’s face. As the family back in China plan a spontaneous wedding, they hope to keep Nai Nai’s spirits up for what are her last few months with them. Against her parents’ wishes, Billie decides to fly out to the home country to spend time with the whole family during this time of secret grief and celebration. Wang writes and directs the film.
Not long after its premiere in Park City, A24 won a bidding war to acquire “The Farewell,” which sold for approximately $6 million-$7 million. This is Wang’s second directorial feature project. She wrote and directed the 2014 romantic comedy “Posthumous,” about a man posing as his own brother after an accidental charade of his own death. Here with “The Farewell” Wang centers on the reality of loss and what that means in a multi-generational, diverse environment. Knowing well that her culture’s tradition calls for the secrecy from family in these moments, Billie also struggles on her own to regain some sort of solace.
The film has been traveling the festival circuits since Sundance with rave reviews and is primed for a successful summer outing. After a string of hit comedies like “Ocean’s 8” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” Awkafina takes a turn for the dramatic in the Wang’s touching family drama. This marks her first leading role. “The Farewell” is produced by Big Beach Films, Depth of Field and Kindred Spirit. The film stars Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Shuzhen Zhou and Han Chen. A24 is distributing the film domestically and it will release in theaters July 12.