Ellen DeGeneres and BuzzFeed planning film about China's Brother Orange

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In 2015, the story of a stolen iPhone went viral and led to a friendship forged on China’s Twitter. Now, the Finding Dory star is working on a film about it

Ellen DeGeneres and BuzzFeed planning film about China's Brother Orange
The future’s orange … Ellen DeGeneres. Photograph: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Ellen DeGeneres and BuzzFeed are working together on a film inspired by a series of articles about a stolen mobile phone, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Brother Orange will take its cue from BuzzFeed editor Matt Stopera’s online response to having his iPhone stolen in 2014. When mysterious pictures started appearing in his photostream a year after the theft – most notably of a Chinese man in front of an orange tree – Stopera’s story went viral on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter. Stopera then travelled to the Chinese city of Meizhou to meet “Brother Orange”, becoming something of a celebrity in China in the process. Brother Orange subsequently came to the US for a reciprocal visit, and the pair appeared on DeGeneres’s talkshow.

DeGeneres and Stopera will act as executive producers for the planned feature, which will tell the story of “an unlikely, accidental friendship that transcended cultural divides”. The project will be produced by BuzzFeed’s film development arm alongside Flagship Entertainment, a joint venture between Warner Bros and China Media Capital, which aims to make films that will appeal to the Chinese market.

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