Marko Zaror: Hello Lee and thanks for your support! 2015 started really good for me with filming The Green Ghost in Austin, Texas and it was a really nice experience. I play the main villain and also served as fight choreographer, and I’ve got some amazing projects ahead. I feel healthy and I’m training good, so I’m really thankful.
How long did anyone think it would be before directors Stephen Chow and Derek Kwok’s 2013 fantasy action comedy adventure, Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons would get an English-language remake? Because, well… that’s about to happen!
The inital film, one of a number of cinematc reworkings of classic Chinese folklore notably highlighting fabled legend Sun Wukong (a.k.a. The Monkey King) starred actress Shu Qi and actor Wen Zhang, and was released in China in February of last year, earning a total of well over $200 million at the box office throughout several Asian territories, beating several records previously set by director Wuershan’s 2012 fantasy thriller, Painted Skin: The Ressurrection and the Michael Bay’s 2011 blockbuster, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. The new English-language iteration is now part of a newl diversified slate of film deals being announced this month between Oriental Dreamworks and three other Chinese companies for the production of five movies in total.
Production on the new remake will include the aid of producer Zhang Jizhong who also served as a producer on a recent TV show of the same name. Oriental Dreamworks states, “The classic adventure story will be transformed into an international action film integrating cutting-edge visual effects technology with an English-language script to bring China’s legendary hero to the world.”. ODW’s chief creative officer Joe Aguilar also added his thoughts on the new slate, saying, “With this new series of ventures supporting local producers, artists, actors and crew, Oriental DreamWorks will further its objective of creating entertainment in China for China and for export to the rest of the world, …”These three development deals represent leading local companies that we are proud to partner with.”.
The other four projects agreed to for Oriental Dreamworks include a three-film deal with Dreams Of Dragons Pictures for a “high concept comedy”, a contemporary high impact martial arts movie with “advanced choreography” and a currently untitled titled historical epic from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon scribe Wang Huiling, the author whose latest novel, The Crossing, was just attributed to an upcoming live-action epic drama directed by John Woo set for release this year. The slate also involves a seperate deal with producer and director Teng Hua for a Chinese folklore-inspired animated feature.
Oriental Dreamworks is the company behind the highly successful animated Kung Fu Panda franchise starring the voice of actor Jack Black, with the third installment heading to theaters on December 23, 2015.
For those interested, Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and VoD. Plans for a sequel are still yet unknown.