Birds of Prey’s Cathy Yan to Write, Direct Sci-Fi Comedy The Freshening

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The film is set in a futuristic America where people are given injections to “cure” racism and sexism.


Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan has been tapped to write and direct The Freshening, an adaptation of a short story by Rachel Khong about a futuristic America in which citizens can take a drug to cure racism and sexism.

As reported by Variety, Yan will script and helm the project for FilmNation, the company behind recent critical hits Promising Young Woman and The Personal History of David Copperfield. FilmNation will produce the film alongside Ali Wong, Hyperobject Industries/Gary Sanchez Productions, and Yan and Ash Sarohia via their production banner Rewild.

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,” Yan said in a statement. “I’m delighted to get to work with like-minded collaborators Ali Wong, Hyperobject and FilmNation to bring this bold and impactful story to the screen.”

Image via Warner Bros.

“I was so haunted by Rachel Khong’s compelling and high concept story when I read it,” said Wong. “The Freshening is 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.”

The Freshening is an interesting premise, and judging by Yan’s captivatingly kinetic work on the action superhero comedy Birds of Prey, she’s a smart pick to develop the sci-fi tale into a movie. Here’s the official synopsis:

Khong’s short story is set in a near future where tensions over race and gender have reached a violent extreme, the U.S. government institutes a public health initiative known as ‘The Freshening’: every American receives an injection, after which everyone only sees others as the same race and gender as themselves. But when a street drug hits the scene, promising a chance to see the world as it really is, will she choose to disrupt this ‘freshened’ world?

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