Paramount to produce another ‘Monkey King’ film

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Shanghaiist:

Hollywood’s Paramount Pictures is next in line to milk millions out of the never-ending Journey to the West franchise with yet another adaptation of The Monkey King.

The studio is partnering up with Beijing‘s Ruyi Xinxin Film Investment to release a 3D movie based on Wu Chen-en‘s classic novel Journey to the West. Countless adaptations of the literary fantasy exist in China, but this version will be similar to the popular 1980s TV series and will include actors from the series.

Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman, announced the news on Wednesday while in Beijing. Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson has signed on to produce the film and Zhang Jinlai, who played the Monkey King in the TV version, has been confirmed to take part in the project as well.

I told the American friends that the Monkey King should not have a [romantic]relationship,” the actor was quoted as saying in a Wall Street Journal report. “This film will not twist the original story.”

Hong Kong director Pou Soi Cheang‘s 3D version of The Monkey King raked in 167 million USD in China last year, making it the third-highest grossing film in 2014, and a sequel starring Gong Li is set to hit theaters early next year. Those who need more Journey to the West to tide them over until the next one can look forward to US network AMC’s upcoming martial arts drama “Badlands“, which will be loosely based on the tale and broadcast sometime in late 2015.

You will see more Asian guys on TV soon!

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.23.25 PM

Audrey Magazine:

Right now in Hollywood, it’s pilot casting season and (much to our delight) a lot of Asian American male actors are making headlines. Could this be the turn of the tide? Can we finally turn on the TV and regularly see Asian characters? We’ll have to wait and see. Although a number of shows have released information about their pilot, we will all have to wait until May for broadcast network channels to decide which shows to pick up and put on television. Needless to say, we have our fingers crossed for the shows which can bring forward Asian faces.

Apart from Daniel Wu’s Badlands, which has already been ordered directly to series by AMC, it is possible that none of the other pilots mentioned below will be picked up, but the rise in Asian American male actors being casted definitely gives us hope. Furthermore, they are being cast in roles that are substantial supporting roles or even leads. After all, it’s not just visibility that matters, but also the quality of representation.

Hopefully, we will hear about more pilot castings for talented Asian American actors in the upcoming months. For now, it’s heartening to see strides being made.

1. Daniel Wu

Image courtesy of LA TF

First up, there’s Hong Kong star Daniel Wu with his martial arts show Badlands, which cable network AMC has already ordered direct to series. Based very loosely on the Chinese tale Journey to the West, Wu stars as a “ruthless, well-trained warrior named Sunny” who goes on a journey with a young boy to find enlightenment. Wu will also serve as executive producer on Badlands. Only limited information about the series has been released, but we are definitely going to check it out once it airs on AMC.

 

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You Will See More Asian Guys on TV Soon

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.23.25 PM

Right now in Hollywood, it’s pilot casting season and (much to our delight) a lot of Asian American male actors are making headlines. Could this be the turn of the tide? Can we finally turn on the TV and regularly see Asian characters? We’ll have to wait and see. Although a number of shows have released information about their pilot, we will all have to wait until May for broadcast network channels to decide which shows to pick up and put on television. Needless to say, we have our fingers crossed for the shows which can bring forward Asian faces.

Apart from Daniel Wu’s Badlands, which has already been ordered directly to series by AMC, it is possible that none of the other pilots mentioned below will be picked up, but the rise in Asian American male actors being casted definitely gives us hope. Furthermore, they are being cast in roles that are substantial supporting roles or even leads. After all, it’s not just visibility that matters, but also the quality of representation.

Hopefully, we will hear about more pilot castings for talented Asian American actors in the upcoming months. For now, it’s heartening to see strides being made.

 


 

1. Daniel Wu

Image courtesy of LA TF

First up, there’s Hong Kong star Daniel Wu with his martial arts show Badlands, which cable network AMC has already ordered direct to series. Based very loosely on the Chinese tale Journey to the West, Wu stars as a “ruthless, well-trained warrior named Sunny” who goes on a journey with a young boy to find enlightenment. Wu will also serve as executive producer on Badlands. Only limited information about the series has been released, but we are definitely going to check it out once it airs on AMC.

 

2. Ken Jeong

Image courtesy of Korea Times

Before Ken Jeong popped out of a trunk in The Hangover series, he was a practicing doctor by day at Kaiser Permanente and an aspiring comedian at night. Now ABC has greenlit his comedy pilot Dr. Ken, which Jeong is set to star, write and executive produce. According to Variety, Jeong will “play a frustrated HMO doctor juggling his career, marriage and parenting, but succeeding at none of them.” If this gets picked up, perhaps ABC could form a one hour Asian American comedy block with Dr. Ken and Fresh off the Boat?

 

3. Brian Tee

Image courtesy of Zimbio

Brian Tee has been in a lot of movies and TV shows such as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Wolverine and the upcoming  Jurrasic World movie. Now, he has been cast for the NBC pilot Love is the Four Letter Word, created by a fellow Asian American writer Diana Son. According to Deadline, Love is the Four Letter Wordchronicles the collision of race, sexuality and gender roles when three diverse couples put modern marriage to the test. Tee plays Adam, half of one of the three couples, a big, handsome man who is currently dating Sarah, a fellow attorney who shares his taste for sexual adventure, including three-ways with beautiful women.”

Asian Americans in lead roles in front of and behind the camera? Plus an Asian American male character who shatters the emasculated, subservient Asian male stereotype? We are swooning already.

 

4. Daniel Henney

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Daniel Henney has been cast in a Criminal Minds spinoff. According to Deadline,the proposed spinoff follows FBI agents helping American citizens who find themselves in trouble abroad, with Gary Sinise playing their boss, Jack Garrett. Henney will play charming family man Matt Simmons, an army brat who grew up abroad and really embraces the opportunity to explore different cultures. But first and foremost, he is the kind of guy you would follow into battle, and his split second profiling skills honed on the battlefield make him a crucial part of the team.”

Henney joins an illustrious cast that includes Tyler James Williams and Emmy-award winner Anna Gunn.

 

5. Albert Tsai

Image courtesy of Albert Tsai's Official Twitter Account

For those of you who didn’t see ABC’s shortlived critical darling Trophy Wife, Albert Tsai played the breakout character Bert, who was considered by many to be the best part of a very good show. Although the show was cancelled after one season, Albert Tsai is moving on and has been cast as Ken Jeong’s son in the Dr. Ken pilot. Another Asian American family on an ABC sitcom? Just maybe. Is it too early to start the petition for the Fresh off the Boat/Dr. Ken crossover? Probably not.

 

Video

The Biggest Movie In The World Right Now Is About A Mystical Monkey

The Monkey King grossed an estimated $46 million this weekend, and almost all of that money came from China.

The highest-grossing movie in the world this weekend wasn’t released in the United States, or in Europe, or in South America, but in China. The Monkey King opened in the world’s most populous country, as well as six other territories, with an estimated $46 million, according to Variety. If those estimates hold, it will be nearly four times the top-grossing movie at the U.S. box office this weekend, the Kevin Hart-comedy Ride Along, with $12 million.

Following the exploits of a mystical, powerful monkey (Donnie Yen, also the film’s fight choreographer), the 3D film is based on part of the 16th-century Chinese mythological novel Journey to the West. It debuted on the first day of the Chinese New Year, setting a new opening-day record in that country with an estimated $20 million. It also appears to have set a single-day worldwide record for IMAX, with $1.8 million.

The success underlines the rapid growth of the Chinese box office, and why American studios have worked so tirelessly to schedule their films within the country (a process that requires a non-native film either be a Chinese co-production, or released in partnership with a Chinese exhibitor). Last year, Pacific Rim grossed more in China than it did in the U.S., and the top-grossing film in the U.S., Iron Man 3, came in second at the annual box office in China to a separate adaptation of Journey to the West, entitled Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons.

According to the Facebook page for The Monkey King, the film will be released in the U.S. this summer.