Fresh off the criminally underseen “Birds of Prey,” director Cathy Yan has found her next project: an adaptation of Rachel Khong‘s sci-fi comedy short story, “The Freshening.”
Variety has the scoop on “The Freshening,” reporting that FilmNation acquired the rights to the short story and will finance and produce the film alongside Ali Wong, Hyperobject Industries/Gary Sanchez Productions, and Rewild. The report describes the short story as being “set in a near future where tensions over race and gender have reached a violent extreme,” leading to the U.S. government instituting an initiative known as “The Freshening,” which is an injection that will make every American “see others as the same race and gender as themselves.” The story reportedly follows someone who will have to decide whether to stick to the “freshened” version of the world, or take a street drug that allows you to see the world as it really is.
This sounds like an interesting premise that could go incredibly wrong, incredibly fast, and something a bit like Aldous Huxley‘s “Brave New World,” which recently got adapted into a drama series on Peacock. Given Yan’s kinetic yet complex work on “Birds of Prey,” this could end up a captivating and fun movie that still manages to have something to say.
“’The Freshening’ is exactly the type of daring and timely film that excites me as a writer and director, and that Ash and I started Rewild to produce,” Cathy Yan said in a statement. Meanwhile, Ali Wong described the project as being “unlike anything I’ve ever worked on and I’m thrilled to develop it into a film with everyone involved. From the beginning, it was my dream for Cathy Yan to write and direct this project and I’m so incredibly grateful it came true.”