On April 11, iconic Chinese film director Zhang Yimou announced at a press conference that he would direct his first online drama called “League of Legends.” Details about the film have not been confirmed by Yimou’s film studio. Yimou revealed at the press conference that the drama will start filming in September, which was also confirmed by Tencent Video.
Riot Games China confirmed to The Esports Advocate that the drama would be led by TJ Sports, the joint venture of Riot Games China and Tencent, who operate League of Legends esports in the country. Riot will review the part of the drama related to League of Legends game IP.
“I’m not good at playing video games like League of Legends…but I think esports is another genre,” Yimou said during the press conference. “It’s quite challenging for me because audiences and actors are young.”
A few outlets reported that the drama would be a 40-episode television show, which has been proven incorrect by Youhug Media, the production company handling this drama. According to the Chinese review-aggregation website Douban (China’s answer to Rotten Tomatoes), the drama is not about the game (League of Legends), but a story mainly focused on being a professional esports player.
Yimou is considered one of the biggest Chinese film directors of the past 20 years. His films were nominated three times in the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category, and five times for the Golden Globes’ Best Foreign Language Film category.
Yimou is best known in China for serving as the general director of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.