Justin Chadwick will direct the historical adventure “The Lady and the Panda,” a U.K./Chinese co-production and biopic about Ruth Harkness who was the first person to bring a live panda from China to the United States.
Harkness was a New York socialite whose wealthy explorer husband died in 1936. She took over his expedition to China and traveled into the uncharted Himalayas, where she and the guide rescued an orphaned baby panda.
Harkness took the panda back to the U.S. and created a nationwide sensation. Before long, she realized that pandas are best preserved in their natural habitat.
Chadwick will direct from a script he wrote with Bickford and Holly Gent Palmo, based on Harkness’ original correspondence. Filming is expected to begin next month in China in the Sichuan region in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Joe Simpson, Michelle Qi, Laura Bickford, Andrew Mann and Fiona Druckenmiller will executive produce.