David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Fast And Furious: Hobbs And Shaw) will direct the feature-length adaptation of classic martial arts drama, Kung Fu. Mike Fleming Jr. confirms the news at Deadline in an exclusive that also notes the production is housed under Universal Pictures who’ve optioned the rights.
Originally birthed by martial arts screen legend Bruce Lee, the show took on new life with David Carradine starring in the original TV drama from 1972 through 1975. In that series, Carradine plays Kwai Chang Kaine, a shaolin monk who initially ventures out to the 18th century old West in search of his brother.
The series was then followed by two feature films and a spin-off television show titled Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, co-starring Chris Potter, and efforts followed years later to revive the property, at one point revealing Bill Paxton’s potential involvement 2011 as director – six years prior to his untimely death. Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann was also reportedly a previous candidate to sit at the helm.
As a sidenote – in 2016, Lee’s original script and development notes became posthumous priority over at Shannon Lee’s Bruce Lee Entertainment and Cinemax for what would become the hit TV martial arts western drama, Warrior, which is now on deck to premiere a second and presumably final season this Fall.
The news with Kung Fu comes seperate from reports last fall elucidating details on a forthcoming female-driven television take on the property at The CW as of last November. Leitch will also pair up once again at Universal’s 87North with partner Kelly McCormick to produce his Kung Fu feature alongside Stephen L’Hereaux at Solipsist Film, and with original Kung Fu series creator Ed Spielman exec producing.
Fleming Jr.’s report also further notes that Leitch remains on board to direct a revival of Robert Clouse’s ceremonial Bruce Lee revenge epic, Enter The Dragon. That report first broke in 2018, and so its reiteration at Deadline on Monday all but officiates things beyond a doubt, which will likely stir the martial arts fandom pot for years to come until the film is a reality.
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Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.