Cathay Film Company Sets Drama from Meileen Choo


Cathay Film Company, a new banner in Singapore’s Cathay Organisation Group, is developing the new drama series Coolie, with CEO Meileen Choo as creator and showrunner.

The eight-episode series centers on the history of enslaved Chinese “coolies” in Cuba in the 1860s by following a young Chinese girl who sets off to marry a political exile working on a plantation in Cuba. There, she finds the plantation owner plotting for independence from imperial Spain.

Aided by Chinese indentured servants and African slaves seeking freedom, they develop plans for breaking free from Spain. However, the plantation owner’s spurned wife and her old lover conspire against them.

The ensemble cast features acts from Hong Kong, Cuba and Colombia, with names such as Louise Wong (A Guilty Conscience, Anita), Joseph Chang (Eternal Summer, Girlfriend Boyfriend, Soul), Mauricio Henao (La Herencia, Panama, Fake Profile), Camila Arteche (El acompanante, Sergio & Serguei, Juego de Mentiras) and Sian Chiong (La Mexicana y el Guero, Menudo, Fidel’s Daughter). Arvin Chen (Pachinko, Au revoir Taipei, Mama Boy) is set to direct.

The series will shoot in the Dominican Republic and Panama, with principal photography to commence in December.

“This story has long been a passion project of mine,” Choo said. “We are telling a version here with drama, action, love and intensity during a real time in history with overarching themes that are still very relevant today. Our intent is to make the connection entertaining and meaningful for a contemporary audience, and I’m proud to say we have a tremendously talented cast and team to realize this vision.”

Chen said, “The world of Coolie is a captivating and unique multicultural world that I never knew existed, and I’m excited to work with our amazing cast and crew to bring that world back to life.”