Forget fighting, everybody was Kung Fu remaking! That appears to be the case recently as following news from last year that The CW was developing a contemporary female-led TV series remake of Kung Fu, Deadline now brings word that Universal Pictures has a brand new feature film remake of the old 1970s TV series in the works as well. The original Kung Fu show ran for three seasons on ABC between 1972 and 1975 and followed David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a half-white/half-Chinese Shaolin monk who travels through the old American west, “armed only with his spiritual training and his skill in martial arts”, as he searches for his half-brother Danny Caine.
Universal’s new remake is said to be a “contemporary-set action-packed feature film” and Universal has tapped David Leitch as director. The stuntman-turned-filmmaker burst onto the scene when he co-directed John Wick with stunt-partner Chad Stahelski. While the latter continued to helm the John Wick sequels on his own, Leitch went off to direct Atomic Blonde and the brilliant Deadpool 2, both films showing off his incredible knack for fight scene choreography. Most recently, Leitch also teamed up with Universal to helm Hobbs & Shaw. With that level of action movie experience and their prior working relationship, it’s easy to see why Universal would turn to Leitch given how they’re pitching this modern remake.
In an ironic twist though, Leitch is also attached to a long-gestating remake of Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon. Why the irony? Well, it’s been claimed repeatedly by the late martial artist’s family that Lee, prior to his peak global stardom, came up with the original pitch for Kung Fu which he tried and failed to sell to different studios… only for the studios to take that pitch and make their own show starring a white guy. There’s been some evidence to back that up and in 2015 Lee’s daughter Shannon revealed that she had found her father’s old notes for his TV series pitch. These were eventually turned into the 19th century-set TV series Warrior which aired its very solid first season last year.
With all this Kung Fu going around, Leitch and Universal will need to make their own version really stand out. I have confidence in the director to do that, but the clincher is going to be in who is cast to play Caine. At this moment, there’s no talk yet of that as the project doesn’t even have a writer yet. According to Deadline’s report, the studio is hoping to quickly address this though, so we may not have long to wait for a further update.
Last Updated: January 22, 2020