STARZ announced it is in development on Plan A written and executive produced by film and television writer-director Steven J. Kung (“Dear White People,” A Leading Man). The comedy will also be executive produced by Justin Simien (Dear White People, Bad Hair) through his production company Culture Machine and Leann Bowen (“Ted Lasso,” “Dear White People”) who will serve as showrunner and executive producer on the scripted series.
Plan A will follow Asian Americans living in Los Angeles who strive for the benchmark of the American Dream – an impressive job and a satisfying love life – all while navigating the cultural expectations of their parents, society and ultimately, themselves.
“We are excited to bring this simultaneously funny and dramatic series to STARZ,” said Kathryn Busby, President, Original Programming, STARZ. “The show is a wonderful blend of Justin’s visionary talent and the seminal legacy of ‘Dear White People,’ along with the critically acclaimed creative artistry of Steven and Leann. We are proud that it highlights STARZ’s commitment to telling original, sophisticated and entertaining stories that offer an authentic look at AAPI narratives, told by incredible AAPI creators.”
“I’ve always wanted to watch a show about people who look like me, just walking around, living their lives and taking up space,” said Kung. “STARZ and Lionsgate have given us an enormous amount of freedom to create Plan A, and it’s allowed me and my extraordinary creative partners Justin Simien and Leann Bowen to take the story to an authentic, edgy and joyous place.”
“From the moment Steven pitched me the project I was dazzled,” said Simien. “I’m so thrilled to be back with Steven and Leann to continue the playful yet bold storytelling we poured our hearts into refining during the writing of ‘Dear White People.’”
Simien wrote and directed the Lionsgate feature film Dear White People, which was later adapted into a Lionsgate television series of the same name.
“Plan A” will be produced by Lionsgate Television for STARZ. Directors of Original Programming Tara Roy and Alex Alberts will oversee the series on behalf of STARZ. Jocelyn Sabo, Senior Vice President, Television will oversee for Lionsgate Television.
Steven J. Kung, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, Steven J. Kung is a writer-director who wrote on “Dear White People” and directed on the sixth season of “Fresh Off the Boat.” He’s been telling POC, queer and female-forward stories for his entire career, most notably with A Leading Man, his feature film about anti-Asian racism in the entertainment industry which led Mic to proclaim him as one of Six Filmmakers Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling. He is currently a director in the Paramount Directing Initiative.
Kung also wrote the episode “Koreatown” for the HereTV anthology series “Falling for Angels.” A dual director and UPM member of the Directors Guild of America, he produced Ernest Borgnine’s final movie, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernández.
Kung graduated from the Disney ABC Directing Program and the DGA Mentorship Program. He serves as co-chair emeritus of the DGA Asian American Committee, a board member of the Virginia Film Festival, and co-founder of the DGA LGBTQ+ Committee. A native of Virginia Beach, he holds an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA with High Distinction in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.
Kung is repped by Kaplan Stahler, Artists First and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.
Justin Simien is an award-winning writer, director and producer. In 2014, he made his feature film directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Dear White People which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent and was picked up by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions.
After the theatrical release of Dear White People, Simien then adapted the film into a critically acclaimed Netflix series of the same name. Simien served as the show’s head writer and directed several episodes throughout its four-season run. Both the film and the series follow the lives of a group of black college students attending a predominantly white and fictionalized Ivy League School and tackles issues of racial tensions, identity, gender, sexuality and class in the modern era.
Simien returned to Sundance in 2020 with the world premiere of his second feature film, Bad Hair. Hulu acquired the horror satire, which drove a record number of subscriber sign-ups for the streamer during its “Hulu-ween” roll out.
Simien’s upcoming third feature film is the highly anticipated Disney’s Haunted Mansion which is set for a theatrical release on March 10, 2023. Based on the theme park ride of the same name, the film stars Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson and Danny DeVito.
Simien is currently executive producing a slate of TV projects through his production company, Culture Machine, and recently began an overall deal with Paramount TV. Under the deal, Simien and his Culture Machine banner will develop premium television series for the studio for broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms.
Simien is repped by CAA, Grandview and Del Shaw Moonves.
Leann Bowen is a Filipino African American comedy writer from Los Angeles. A WGA award winner and Emmy nominated writer, she recently wrote on all three seasons of Apple’s breakout hit TED LASSO and GUILTY PARTY for Paramount+.
She got her start in sketch comedy and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade and moved her talents online writing and directing for sites like Funny or Die and CollegeHumor. She wrote for all four seasons of Netflix’s “Dear White People” and wrote for the Emmy nominated “I Love You America,” with Sarah Silverman on Hulu.
She continues to produce and write comedy with an edge toward stories of black and Asian culture and the uniquely POC American experience.
Bowen is repped by 3 Arts, APA and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.