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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.
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…
Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme's peak success in the decade or so has been refreshing to observe. His acting and performances overall have turned solid and even a little more introspective to a degree, and his latest effort, Jean-Claude Van Johnson looks to echo that effort. Jean-Claude Van Johnson stars global martial arts and film sensation Jean-Claude Van Damme as “Jean-Claude Van Damme,” a global martial arts and film sensation…and, operating under the simple alias of ‘Johnson,” the most dangerous undercover operative in the world. Unhappily retired, he’s now whiling away his days in superficial Hollywood… until a chance encounter with a lost love lures him back into the game, eventually forcing him to confront the greatest enemy he’s ever faced: a Bulgarian drug cartel.
Just kidding it’s himself.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson stars Van Damme along with Kat Foster (Your Family or Mine), Moises Arias (The Middle), and Phylicia Rashad (Creed). The show is executive produced by Dave…
Stating flatly for the record, I don't give a single, fresh dump of cowshit about siding with anyone regarding the overprivileged douchecanoe beefery that has stemmed from Dwayne Johnson's infamous Instagram post last August. I only care about one thing, and it's the thriving franchise at Universal Pictures that is Fast And Furious and its future potential regarding spin-offs, and I've been more than pleased with the news about Johnson's planned spin-off with franchise co-star and famed action hero Jason Staham with respect to the intial Fast saga from here on.
That said, Johnson's latest Instagram teaser was a nice little gem to see apart from most of his caption reaffirming the spin-off for a 2019 release as reported last week. I especially appreciate the portion where Johnson states "I want to use my spinoff platform to create new characters that fans will ultimately love to have fun with in multiple chapters and platforms. Film, TV, Digital, Virtual R…