Portrait of a Thief: Grace Li’s

Grace Li’s ‘Portrait of a Thief’ Lands at Netflix for TV

Michael Sugar will develop the novel about the complexity of the Chinese American identity, with a search for a writer under way.

Grace Li

Ahead of its publication — and following a highly competitive bidding war–Netflix has snapped up TV rights to Grace Li’s novel, Portrait of a Thief.

Set to be published April 5, 2022, by Dutton’s Tiny Reparations banner, Thief is based on a true story of Chinese art vanishing from Western museums. It’s a story of friendships, the colonization of art and the complexity of Chinese American identity.

Michael Sugar’s Sugar23 banner will develop the series as part of the company’s overall deal with Netflix. A search for a writer is under way. Sugar, Ashley Zalta and Margaux Swerdloff will exec produce. Li, who is currently a full-time student at Stanford Medical School, will also exec produce.

Portrait of a Thief, which is in the early stages of development, is the latest investment as part of Netflix’s commitment to programming that details the Asian-American experience.

The streamer’s roster in that area includes the recently ordered Steven Yeun-Ali Wong dramedy BeefMin Jin Lee’s Free Food for Millionaires, White Ivy, Dial A for Aunties, Boo Bitch and an untitled comedy starring Awkwafina and Sandra Oh as well as a TV spinoff of To All the Boys film series starring Anna Cathcart.