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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.
Having extensively covered Universal Pictures's famed Fast franchise, this week's latest bit of coverage has to be the closest I've come. It's primarily attributed to the forthcoming live show which kicks off in London in January and obviously with a film saga so action packed, of course it's going to need a crew of some very talented stunt performers to take to task the very feats attendees can expect.
For this, it is with great pleasure to have been able to share an auspicious chat with Adam Brashaw, someone whose work thusfar in stunts, film and television have been all but impressive. He's only appeared in The Hit List a few times having done three shortfilms (two of which I have seen), and you need only to see the results for yourself apart from his exceptional work reel just above.
Brashaw is going nine years strong in his field with multiple credits to his name, including at least one upcoming film project which he discusses a bit about later in this in…
I still plan on catching Magnet's U.S. release of Miike Takashi's hit manga adaptation, Blade Of The Immortal next month. Folks in the U.K. still have a bit of a wait though and in all likelihood it won't stall any excitement that has already been drawn from the rave press reviews in the last six months, including this month at Sitges. Manji, a highly skilled samurai, becomes cursed with immortality after a legendary battle. Haunted by the brutal murder of his sister, Manji knows that only fighting evil will regain his soul. He promises to help a young girl named Rin avenge her parents, who were killed by a group of master swordsmen led by ruthless warrior Anotsu. The mission will change Manji in ways he could never imagine...
Arrow Films is releasing the film theatrically on December 8. The trailer looks something a bit similar from the international pitch from months earlier but still delivers the desired effect. Enjoy, and set the date!
Among many of the film, TV and independent projects I've followed up on, one stood out as something worth following in its early days as I had known of the folks working on its action for its director, Charlie Dennis. Fast forward three Winters later and we were introduced to the world of gritty martial arts short, Deep Pan Fury, with UK actor Andrew Koji, whose extensive TV and film acting and stunt credits include 2007 Muay Thai flick, Fighting Beat, Justin Lin's Furious 6 and as the voice of Hien in Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood.
Conclusively, I couldn't be more proud of Koji this week, and that brings us to the longstanding developments of Cinemax's upcoming ten-episode martial arts drama, Warrior which is set to go before cameras in South Africa on October 22. Netflix series Fauda helmer Assaf Bernstein is directing from a script by Banshee creator Jonathan Tropper, in turn inspired by the unproduced work of late martial artist multihyphenate, entertainer and fil…