The news of Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh being named as the co-producer of Billion Dollar Whale, set to hit the big screen under Ivanhoe Pictures of SK Global, is causing a ripple across social media. The announcement was made just a week after she posted a selfie with the cover of the book on Instagram, in which she has described it as a “fascinating book”.
The Sarawak Report has slammed the book’s authors, Wall Street Journal’s journalists Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, for choosing Yeoh, previously seen as a supporter of Barisan Nasional (BN), to produce a movie adaptation of the book that alleges financier Jho Low as the mastermind behind 1MDB’s money-laundering scandal.
Founder of The Sarawak Report Clare Rewcastle Brown also has plans to option her book The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé for a movie, urging people to “watch the other upcoming film The Sarawak Report for the real story”.
Even Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and senior journalist Jahabar Sadiq have chimed in with "punny" response on Twitter:
John Penotti, the president of SK Global — whose Ivanhoe label also co-financed and co-produced Yeoh’s recent blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians — said in a statement shared by Wright.
“Tom and Bradley have crafted a thoroughly compelling telling of this unbelievable story. While certainly a daring work of investigative journalism, the narrative thread and eclectic characters that they so diligently chronicle make the book read like a thrilling and engrossing novel… We are very proud to be associated with this project and anticipate moving forward very quickly to production.”
Yeoh has yet to issue a statement on her deal with Ivanhoe Pictures.