Depending on how deep your knowledge of the Internet goes, Brother Orange is either a viral phenomenon that passed you by or an international yarn that you hold near and dear.
Warner Bros. and BuzzFeed will be hoping it’s the latter, as the studios are teaming for a big-screen rendition of the story that involves a stolen iPhone, selfies, iCloud feeds and orange trees. It may not be as iconic as say, Nyan Cat, but both parties are evidently invested in Brother Orange, with The Hollywood Reporter bringing word today that Jim Parsons, star of The Big Bang Theory, has climbed aboard for a key role.
He’ll play Matt Stopera, whose titular BuzzFeed article about a stolen iPhone spawned the Brother Orange meme we know today. Two years ago, Stopera had his mobile phone stolen, only to find that it had inexplicably made its way to China, where a local resident began to upload a series of pictures and videos from half-way across the world.
Seeing these images appear on his photo stream, Stopera ran a BuzzFeed feature about his wayward iPhone that took China by storm, raking in 20 million views across 24 hours, along with 100 million total shares on Weibo, the country’s go-to social media platform. What’s so remarkable about the story is that the online community helped steer Stopera in Li Hongjun’s (Brother Orange) direction, leading to the twosome becoming overnight celebrities.
No word yet on who will fill the title role, but THR does report that Parsons will produce Brother Orange with Todd Spiewak via their That’s Wonderful Productions banner. Michael Shamberg and Matthew Henick are also attached. Elsewhere, Jim Parsons is said to be involved in a Sheldon Cooper prequel series over at CBS.