Cleopatra Wong, the badass Singaporean Interpol agent from the Asian grindhouse scene of the ‘70s, is back.
The Southeast Asian action hero, who reportedly was the inspiration for Uma Thurman’s character Beatrix ” The Bride” Kiddo in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies, is being revived for an upcoming TV show set in the 21st century, according to Variety.
The character, played by Singaporean actor Marrie Lee (aka Doris Young) in a series of films in the late 1970s, was created by Filipino filmmaker Bobby Suarez. The name appears to have been based on “Cleopatra Jones,” an American Blaxploitation film from 1973.
“They Call Her… Cleopatra Wong,” the 1978 low-budget classic that introduced the character, was digitally restored in 4K last year by the Asian Film Archive.
The Cleopatra Wong films earned a cult following for distinctly combining elements from the spy genre with the Asian martial arts genre.
In an interview with The Straits Times in 2003, Tarantino said that “Cleopatra Wong was a gigantic inspiration” in some of his films.
Independent studio The Ink Factory, which has obtained the rights for the character, is co-producing the new series with Singapore-based Beach House Pictures.s
“With its heart and its soul in Southeast Asia, the franchise brings a young female action hero and her companions to the screen in a way that will feel fresh, confident, and authentic,” said The Ink Factory co-founders Simon Cornwell and Stephen Cornwell in a statement.
Chinese American writer Tasha Huo (“Tomb Raider”) and Thai British writer Chris Cornwell (“A Discovery of Witches”) will share writing duties for the new project.
A Cleopatra Wong series has been in Beach House Pictures’ plans since 2018. In an interview with The Straits Times that year, Beach House Pictures’ Jocelyn Little stated that Wong “deserves a premium television series in the mold of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Jessica Jones or Orphan Black… She will be a complex woman with a personal life.”
The Ink Factory has a number of Asian projects in the works, including the Korean-language series “The Plotters” and thriller “Her Name is Knight.”
Featured Image via Asian Film Archive