“Saving Face” Writer-Director Alice Wu Sets Lesbian Teen Romance at Netflix


Alice Wu is following up her beloved 2004 romance “Saving Face” with another tale of secrets, Chinese-American culture and expectations, and LGBTQ love. According to Deadline, the writer-director’s second film will be “The Half of It,” “a modern day Cyrano-meets-Pygmalion” teen rom-com for Netflix.

“The Half of It” sees “a shy, introverted, Chinese-American, straight-A student” (Leah Lewis, “Charmed”) helping the school jock (Daniel Diemer, “Sacred Lies”) court the girl (Alexxis Lemire, “The Other Mother”) they both love. “In the process, each teaches the other about the nature of love as they find connection in the most unlikely of places,” the source details.

Wu is also producing “The Half of It.” Becky Ann Baker (“Girls”) and Catherine Curtin (“Orange Is the New Black”) are among its supporting cast.

Wu’s directorial debut, “Saving Face” world premiered at TIFF in 2004. It went on to screen at fests such as Sundance and Seattle International Film Festival. The story about a Chinese-American lesbian, her conventional mother, and their respective clandestine romances eventually nabbed nominations from the Gotham Awards and the GLAAD Media Awards.

“Everyone wanted it to be ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ They wanted to cast Reese Witherspoon or someone as the daughter,” Wu has said about the production of “Saving Face.” “That might have worked. I mean, strip away the cultural castings of anyone, and I think we really want the same things. But the specific details keep things emotionally authentic.” She explained, “I just knew I wanted to write about a daughter who’s trying to be this exemplary, perfect Chinese daughter — but with a mother who messes up rather spectacularly.”