Chow remaking Lee's Way of the Dragon?
Stephen Chow brought us the excellent Kung Fu Hustle, CJ7, and was set to direct and play the character once played by Bruce Lee in The Green Hornet for the remake, now he’s not in that American comedy any more, he’s set to direct and star in his own western film called Tai Chi.
The film is already being described as being based on the 1972 Bruce Lee film Way of the Dragon, although to be honest that’s a rather loose connection and the real story here is that Stephen Chow is making his own western film after pulling out of The Green Hornet.
I find that the more interesting part of the story. Stephen Chow was set to direct the remake of The Green Hornet and star as Kato, the role Bruce Lee once played when he came to Hollywood. This was deemed as quite an honour for the man and he was very respectful of the role that Lee once played.
Personally, I believe he backed out of the production because it wasn’t set to be respectful to the memory of the original story and of Bruce Lee.
So he’s decided not to abandon Hollywood but take his own pitch at making a western film, and Tai Chi is the title.
The film is also set to be a collaboration between China Film Group Corporation and another American production company and will cost US $60 million to make and will be based on the Bruce Lee film Way of the Dragon.
It will see Stephen Chow play a Chinese man arriving in America and working as a dishwasher in Chinatown, all the time hiding his true skills as a master of Tai Chi. When other Chinese migrants around him are threatened by gangsters, he stands up to them and begins to teach them how to stand up for themselves.
The story also says that Chow reworked the script many times and worked on it for more than two years, and in the process was dropped from Columbia Pictures and moved on to another production company.
I do imagine, considering the films that have come from Chow before, that this will be radically different from Way of the Dragon and the similarities will die down as the production continues and his own style comes through.
It’ll be interesting to see what he does with a film entirely in English and a co-production between China and America with a strong American cast. I really hope it works out well for him, and stands up to the power of his previous films without the American production company trying to take over the reigns, something that they may already have started with the Hollywood casting.