Chinese film fund unveils 10 new projects including a "lost" Bruce Lee post-apocalyptic kung fu script

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The National Film Capital, a Chinese film fund that looks to help bridge the gap between Eastern and Western cinema, has revealed at the Shanghai International Film Festival that they will be pumping approximately $230 million into a project to help increase the number of local movie theatres, but more importantly to also finance 10 multinational film productions.

The 10 films run the full gamut of different genres from a superhero epic by none other than Stan Lee to even a 3D action adventure. But the most intriguing entry on the list though is the revival of the very last script Bruce Lee was working on at the time of his untimely death in 1973: a post-apocalyptic, science fiction, Kung Fu story!

Titled The Silent Flute, it’s described as a “$25m action fantasy, including a significant martial arts component, set in a post-apocalyptic future in which a seeker embarks on a hero’s journey to a city which may have survived the apocalypse.”

Intended as a vehicle to introduce Eastern philosophical elements to a Western audience, you know, through kicks and punches (they really do make the best philosophical arguments), Lee described the story thus while working on it:

“To the Westerner, the finger jabs, the side kicks, the back fist etc. are tools of destruction and violence, which is indeed one of their functions. But the Oriental believes that the primary function of such tools is revealed when they are self-directed, and destroy greed, fear, anger and folly…”

In other words, roundhouse kick to the face = West, roundhouse kick to face of a greedy and scared person = East. Gotcha, Bruce!

This is not the first time that the screenplay has seen the light of day though, as five years after Lee’s death a re-written version of it appeared in the form of Circle of Iron. Starring David Carradine, Roddy McDowell, Eli Wallach and Christopher Lee (who were all just bona fide kung fu masters, I’m sure!) this version of the film saw the insertion of a humourous overtone, the violence toned down to Saturday morning cartoon levels and the story transplanted from a ravaged future Thailand to a make-believe fantasy world.

This new version however, will be produced by Allen Hatcher who received the blessing of the Lee estate themselves, which would lead me to believe that it would now be hewing closer to Lee’s original script.

The other Lee appearing on the list, namely Stan, will be receiving the lion’s share of the allocated fund for his $120 million superhero film The Annihilator, which is intended to be the first of a trilogy.

Here’s the full list of all 10 projects to financed by the Fund:

  1. The largest financial commitment to date is to The Annihilator, on which NFC will be a Chinese producer and a global partner. The film, scripted by Dan Gilroy and envisaged as the first of three pictures in a Chinese superhero franchise, has a budget of $120 million. It has been developed by Eric Mika’s Magic Storm Entertainment with development finance from Hong Kong’s Rocco Capital. China’s One Gate Capital is also aboard. Lee was not present at the Shanghai announcement, but sent a video message.
  2. The Dragon’s Scroll, a 3-D project, based on CrossGen Comics property Way Of The Rat, that was previously developed by DreamWorks and was acquired from Disney. The fast-paced action-fantasy that goes heavy on the martial arts is produced by Shimon Arama and directed by two-time Oscar-winner Charlie Gibson from a script by Chuck Russell. Production is expected to get underway in November with the $80 million plus picture structured as a China-France-Spain-Canada co-production that may also lead to a spin-off TV series.
  3. Genghis Khan, an epic tale of the 8th century warlord, his defeat in battle, recovery while in exile and triumphant return as conqueror of Mongolia and Peking. The film is written and to be produced by Peter Doyle, with pre-production scheduled to start in January and production get underway in Spring 2013. Doyle said that he is in advanced negotiations with a major director and that the film will boast a budget of $100 million including P&A.
  4. The Bombing of Chongqing, a big-budget drama about the sustained Japanese bombing of the inland Chinese city over a period of five years, to be made in Chinese by director Xiao Feng and produced by Wang Chuan.
  5. The Tibet Code, an English language film based on the series of detective books by He Ma hat were best sellers in Chinese and English. NFC said that it had acquired adaptation rights to the series, and envisaged producing up to six films each with budgets of over $80 million and Warner Bros as a partner.
  6. Silent Flute, a $25 million action-fantasy, set in a post-apocalyptic future and in which a seeker embarks on a hero’s journey to a city which may have survived the apocalypse. The film, which includes a significant martial arts component, is based on the last script by the late Bruce Lee. ProducerAllan Hatcher reports that he has obtained the go-ahead from the Lee family estate and expects to move into production in 2013.
  7. Shrinking, an English-language fantasy about miniaturisation that is to be directed by Ken Bates.
  8. 1421, a historical adventure focusing on Chinese admiral Zheng He, adapted from the controversial Gavin Menzies bestseller 1421: The Year China Discovered The World.
  9. The Devil’s Right Hand, a Chinese-language picture to be produced by Hong Kong’s Wong Jing, directed by Wang Guangli and star Jordan Chan and Simon Yam. Production is set to get underway in September in Shanghai.
  10. Painted Skin: Resurrection.

(Source: FilmBiz Asia via Empire)

Last Updated: June 21, 2012

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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