Damien Sato and Kathy Luu.
Actor, writer and producer Joy Hopwood is directing her second feature, Rhapsody of Love, a rom-com starring Asian-Australians Damien Sato and Kathy Luu.
Further reflecting the project’s diversity, producers Hopwood and Ana Tiwary have hired women in key creative roles.
Now shooting in Sydney, the plot follows four couples at different stages of their relationships and examines how love sometimes develops when it is least expected.
The ensemble cast includes Lily Stewart, Khan Chittenden, Benjamin Hanly, Jessica Niven, Tom Jackson, Hopwood, Amanda Benson, Sam Wang, Erica Long, Michael Giglio and Andrew Wang.
Among the heads of department are AFTRS graduate Goldie Soetianto as DOP, sound recordist Lara Cross, set designer Jessie Singh and editor Jon Cohen.
Asked on Facebook if Rhapsody of Love would be more relatable than Crazy Rich Asians, Luu, whose credits include The Good Place, Fighting Season and The Unlisted, said: “This film is more like Crazy Middle-Class Asians, so definitely more relatable.”
Tiwary and Hopwood have been friends for more than 10 years. “When Joy got in touch last year seeking a producing partner, I joined the project with enthusiasm to support a multicultural story and unconventional characters,” Ana tells IF.
“We share similar values of kindness, respect, equality, diversity and creating a community spirit.”
‘Rhapsody of Love’ team.
Hopwood made her directing debut last year on The Script of Life, a rom-com starring Erica Long and Callum Alexander as an advertising exec and a wannabe actor whose professional and personal lives collide.
In 2017 she scripted Pearl Tan’s The Casting Game, a comedy about a group of unconventional actors trying to make it big in Sydney and an Asian-Australian family who strive to make a visiting relative feel at home.
“I am delighted to be working with Kathy and Damien and the amazing ensemble,” Hopwood says. “I grew up watching rom-coms, especially those produced by Gary Marshall, P.J. Hogan, Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron.
“Their movies are well paced and light-hearted comedies, capturing fun moments in life with hidden life messages, which has greatly influenced my own style of making films.”
The producers raised the budget from sponsorships and private investors. They have had expressions of interest from some film festivals and distributors but nothing is confirmed yet.