Kung Fu: Big Screen Version of TV Series Has New Director

David Carradine in Kung Fu“Grasshopper” has a new Kung Fu master. There’s been a change of direction for the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ big screen adaptation of the classic TV series.

Kung Fu ran for three years on ABC, from 1972 until 1975. It’s a unique Western series that tells the story of Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine), the orphaned son of an American man and Chinese woman. Nicknamed “Grasshopper” by his mentor, Caine is trained in a Shaolin monastery. After his mentor is murdered, Caine retaliates by killing the emperor’s nephew. He flees China to America’s Old West where he helps those in need and stays one step ahead of the emperor’s assassins.

Carradine’s Caine has been resurrected a few times in movies, in a four-year sequel series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, in a group of animated webisodes, and even an occasional commercial.

The big screen version of Kung Fu has been in the works for some time. In June 2006, Kung Fu’s creator Ed Spielman and writing partner Howard Friedlander announced that the film was in development. The film was planned to be a China-based prequel to the original series and would not feature a lot of special effects, unlike Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

In November 2006, it was reported that Allen and Albert Hughes had been hired to direct the picture and that Cory Goodman was rewriting the script. Legendary Pictures’ Thomas Tull, Scott Mednick and Jon Jashni were announced as producers with Spielman as executive producer.

Max Makowski has now stepped in to take over the project because the Hughes brothers are tied up with Warner Bros. The Book of Eli. As a result, the Kung Fu script is being revised once again. The Hong Kong-based Makowski reportedly wants to make the film edgier than the original series but still plans to shoot in China.

When the film was announced, it was emphasized that Carradine would not be reprising his role as Caine. The actor later said, “I know there’s talk at Warner Bros about doing a feature version of Kung Fu and they’re talking about going back and telling the original pilot movie story over again with a young actor. It would have to be a young actor because he’s studying up at the monastery. He starts out as child and a teenager. I’m 70 years old so I couldn’t play that part.” Hopefully, the Kill Bill actor will be tapped for another role or at least a cameo.

No word if the film is still on track for a 2008 release. Initially, Warner Bros. wanted to promote the film via the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and for it to help foster the studio’s expansion into China. Stay tuned! TV Series Finale home page

Canceled and renewed TV show

4 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Kung- Fu- Fan says

    I wish I could get word to Ed Spielman regarding the Kung Fu feature film and suggest they shoot it in the U.S. and re-tell the original story. The only actor I see that could reprise the original role of Caine that David Carradine did so brilliantly is Keanu Reeves. Brandon Lee would have been amazing but unfortunately he is no longer with us. The character is a half Caucasian, half Chinese, and even though Keanu is half Polynesian and half Caucasian, he has the perfect looks for the character. I can envision Keanu after studying the character, getting all of Davids gestures and mannerisms and slow,deliberate voice down to an art. The shaven head while in the monastery and as his hair grows out, the raggedy clothes and hat, would fit him to a tee. He has the build and martial arts training via The Matrix. He is a bankable Super Star, the audiences love him and martial arts stories. Perhaps Jackie Chan to play Master Po, Jason Scott Lee, there are many great Asian actors out there now. Stage the movie to take him into the U.S. and into situations looking for his brother and end it to be shown in sequels through his journeys to find his brother. An idea.

    • Anonymous says

      The movie is supposed to be a PRE-quel to the original t.v. story. This means Caine as achild and a teen. Keanu is MUCH too old!

  2. says

    I (Domingo M. Rodriguez) wish to recieve information about how I can recieve part-time training in motion picture directing & film producing on the job training my self being an kung fu actor to start out …….Well ,I’m not exactly an expert Kung-Fu artist but I’m a good enough martial artist that there should be some sort part in a film of martial artes movie role I could perform…Well, I suggest part-time training in motion picture industry because I wish that I study law (legal short course of asociate equivalent trade school level in real live during the same time that of my posible employment of me being hired to perform martial arts (kung fu /Karate) in a film this coming year of 2010……..Well, I haven’t been asked directly to perform as an kung fu actor but just in case I am to be ask to perform (martial arts as an actor I write you this breif e-mail to express that I’m interested in my being an kung fu / karate actor as mention en this e-mail …I at prestn time since year 2006 have been living in Rio Piedras,Puerto Rico 00925 and most probablely I will continue to live in rio Piedras for at least next three years UNLESS i recieve enough economic income that would make posible that I relocate….Well, I souposed to graduate from a private university this year Dicember /2009 with an asociates degree in Asistant Administration…..

  3. WolvenSpectre says

    I for one actually hope that they don’t have Caradine in it because if this is a retelling and rewriting and it is going to be serious as it sounds, having him there would only take away from it.

    Those cameos rarely work well in a serious movie, and as he points out he is 70… a very good 70, but still 70.

    Also I hope that they return it more to the vision of Bruce Lee’s concept for when he came up with the show having himself as the lead. I still think that it was a great tragedy that he had the role taken from him, even though I enjoyed Caradine’s Caine.

Leave a Comment

Your comment may need approval from a moderator before it appears. We review comments to weed out spam, duplicate postings and personal attacks. We welcome constructive discussion.