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Starry Entertainment Eyes American Talent For A HERO'S JOURNEY TO THE WEST, Big Names For APES
Of all the animated properties one might have expected to see arise in Hollywood, I suppose it was likely that author Wu Cheng'en's Journey To The West novel would still be an option. The longstanding folklore classic has been the bread and butter of many a film and TV show adaption for years with legendary hero, the Monkey King, front and center, and now the newly-established Starry Entertainment is looking to stake its claim with the goal of tapping both into Chinese and global markets.
As THR reports, Ultimate Spider-Man series scribe James Felder is being tapped to write an English-language take on the property with former Disney animator Chris Bradley (Mulan) and Marvel Studio character designer Walter Antonio McDaniel sharing the helm while confirmation of the film's voice cast remains pending for its Chinese New Year release in 2019. The concept comes from Starry Entertainment's own Jon Chiew who serves as acting COO and CEO of Starry's Hong Kong offices. Says Chiew: “The film will be an interpretation of the Journey to the West legend from a Westerner’s point of view, and the writer has found things we have missed,”.
Next to this is in Starry's ambitious slate of varied content is the $12 million dollar production of Asia Pacific Elimination Service (APES), described as an Asian-Expendables type of film about a group of retired action film heroes. Actors Tiger Chen (Man Of Tai Chi) and Tony Jaa (xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage) are being sought to join actor David Wu for the film, although with both tapped to join their ensemble cast in the weeks and months ahead for Jesse V. Johnson's Triple Threat and with Jaa set for a guest role in Yuen Woo-ping’s Max Zhang-led Ip Man 3 spin-off, Cheung Tin-Chi this July, it will take more reporting to see who else, if anyone is cast.
A Hero's Journey To The West is one of several projects in development signaling the continued resourcefulness of the folklore by studios and writers. Aside from Red Sea Media long gestating adaptation of The Monkey King's Daughter, announced back in 2015, actor Eddie Peng leads the current cast of the ambitious new fantasy epic from director Derek Kwok, The Tales Of Wukong this July with Soi Cheang's The Monkey King 3 production still underway for Filmko Entertainment. Tsui Hark's current sequel flick, Journey To The West: The Demons Strike Back, produced by Stephen Chow who helmed the first film, became the highest grossing adaptation among other adaptations upon its China release in January.
I think it's safe to say you know your movie sucks when you not only screw the rights holders whose name and content you base your unsanctioned film on, but when said rights holders join the chorus of critics panning your movie from literally every angle of the internet. That is the level of achievement you have reached if your name is George Nolfi and you've directed a film called Birth Of The Dragon, long hyped to be a hopefully legendary homage to Bruce Lee, the late founder of Jeet Kune Do and patriarch of American martial arts movie fandom.
Director Kim Jee-Woon's 2005 action drama, A Bittersweet Life, certainly lended one of the most brutal and memorable titles Korean cinema had to offer near the start of the millenium with actor Lee Byung-Hun front and center. Fast forward to present day where Twentieth Century Fox is poised to advance a remake effort with the promise of actor Michael B. Jordan leading the cast.
Jennifer Yuh, Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2, Kung Fu Panda 3) is being tapped to direct the remake with the goal of steering it as potential franchise starter with Jordan playing a high-level mob enforcer who becomes romantically embroiled in a deadly cover-up with his boss's young mistress. 21 Laps's own Shawn Levy, Dan Levine and Dan Cohen are producing in association with CJ Entertainment with Jason Young overseeing for Fox.
Jordan is next slated to appear in the February 16, 2018 release of Creed helmer Ryan Coogler's Marvel adaptation, Black Panther, opposite lead star Chadwick Boseman. (Deadlin…
Normally when I screen an independently-produced film, I offer as much of a curve as I possibly can while reviewing. I'm a regular advocate of DIY filmmaking for creatives who have observed their own respective talents and strive to build themselves and bring good storytelling and equally fierce screenfighting to the fray in their projects. Some are zero-budgeted while others have some type of investment involved with a crew of enough experienced people to help bring the essential pieces together for a single movie. Conclusively, when it works, it works.
That said, I'm not going to go into the specifics regarding the development and history leading up to the production of a'Ali DeSouza's feature debut, Jackson Bolt, starring actor and decorated martial artist, Robert Parham. My knowledge on that end is nil. However, what I do know, pertaining to the latter statement of my introductory paragraph, is that while when a film works when all the right and functional pieces …