The Making Of Three Body Problem Involved A Real Crime Straight Out Of A Netflix Thriller

In Hollywood, it’s not uncommon for filmmakers to describe meetings with studio executives in terms of life-or-death stakes, given how much tends to be on the line during these face-to-face negotiations … but they don’t usually mean that to be taken literally. Apparently, those involved in discussions for the Chinese studio Yoozoo Group to hand over the rights to “The Three-Body Problem” to their American counterparts didn’t get that memo. The result just might have led to the most shocking and high-profile murder in the corporate world.

It all started, according to this “3 Body Problem” profile by The Hollywood Reporter, in 2018. Yoozoo had zeroed in on Amazon Studios as a potential partner to sell the rights to author Liu Cixin’s trilogy, spending almost a full year acquiring talent (including producer Rian Johnson, whose credit remains in the final product) and wooing the Jeff Bezos-owned conglomerate. This reached a crescendo with a meeting in Los Angeles between the two parties, with Yoozoo represented by its own billionaire founder Lin Qi. According to THR’s sources, the bizarre tone was set by Lin, who “dressed like a gangster and put his feet up.” The loose cannon of a CEO then proceeded to sabotage his own deal when he decided to restructure the entire agreement at the last possible moment. In the words of another nameless executive present at the meeting, “[Lin] was so obnoxious. We were one minute away from signature when their CEO suddenly said, ‘Let’s do a joint venture instead.'”

Unsurprisingly, this unexpected pivot caused the lucrative deal to fall apart and left the other Yoozoo executives outraged. One, however, appeared to take this even harder than the others. His name is Xu Yao and he became the prime suspect in Lin’s eventual murder.

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