Director of Donnie Yen’s ‘Kung Fu’ film adaptation hints at ‘franchise potential’

Director of Donnie Yen’s ‘Kung Fu’ film adaptation hints at ‘franchise potential’
via Sony Pictures Entertainment, Jimmy Kimmel Live
Michelle De Pacina
26 days ago
David Leitch, who will be directing the new “Kung Fu” film adaptation starring Donnie Yen, hinted at the potential for an international franchise following the reboot.
Key points:
  • In an interview with Collider, Leitch expressed his joy about the project, emphasizing his passion for martial arts and his excitement for the Hong Kong actor and martial arts legend to play the lead.
The details:
  • “I’m a huge fan of Donnie and his work and his films. And so the potential of that is really, really interesting. We’re in the development phase with Donnie and it’s really exciting, and it just feels like a big international franchise potential with Donnie as Caine. So I’m really excited about it, but again, it’s in development and we’re making it happen,” Leitch said.
  • Considering Leitch’s track record with successful action movies, such as “John Wick,” “Deadpool 2” and “Bullet Train,” and Yen’s own filmography, including the “Ip Man” film series, the reboot has promise for launching an international franchise, particularly given the current appetite for practical and hand-to-hand action sequences in cinema.
  • Ed Spielman, creator of the original “Kung Fu” series, was tapped by 87North and Universal Pictures to be executive producer of the film adaptation.
  • The movie is still in the early stages of development, with details such as the final title and additional cast members yet to be finalized.
  • In the meantime, Leitch’s latest action-comedy film “The Fall Guy,” starring Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt and Stephanie Hsu, will be released in theaters on May 3.
About “Kung Fu”:
  • The original “Kung Fu” TV series, which ran for three seasons on ABC starting in 1972, followed master martial artist Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) as he navigated the challenges of the Old West. The show faced “yellowface” criticism for casting a white actor to play the lead role, a Shaolin monk of Chinese descent. Some viewers also found the show’s depiction of Chinese culture and characters to be inaccurate and reinforcing of harmful stereotypes about Asians.
  • In 2021, CW rebooted “Kung Fu,” which starred Olivia Liang (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Legacies”), and addressed the original show’s criticisms. Showrunner Christina Kim told NextShark in an interview in 2022 that she aimed to use the rebooted “Kung Fu” to inspire a new generation of Asian Americans. However, the show was canceled last year.
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