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Baz Luhrmann in Talks to Direct 'Kung Fu' for Legendary (Exclusive)

The project is the big-screen version of the 1970s martial arts Western.

Baz Luhrman Portrait Hargrave Main - H 2013
Austin Hargrave
Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann could be going from the Roaring '20s to 19th century China.

The Australian filmmaker behind The Great Gatsby is in talks to direct Kung Fu, Legendary Pictures' big-screen adaptation of the 1970s martial arts Western television show. It is unclear how far along the talks are. Legendary had no comment, but the company is beginning to ramp up its Chinese-centric projects again (Yimou Zhang is in talks to revive the company's adventure movie The Great Wall) and Kung Fu has Chinese roots.

If a deal is made, Luhrmann would first do a rewrite on the script before proceeding. (The current script is by Black Swan scribe John McLaughlin.)

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Kung Fu starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin monk who came to the American West in search of his half brother. The show featured flashbacks to his training as a teen in which his master called him “young grasshopper,” a phrase that has stuck in the pop culture lexicon. The show aired on ABC from 1972 to 1975 and gained a cult following beyond its run.    

According to sources, the current script switches the action to China and finds Caine in search of his father -- at one point ending up in a prison where he must fight to survive.

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Luhrmann would bring his own signature sensibility to the martial arts Western. The filmmaker is known for elaborate productions and highly stylized storytelling -- seen not only in the opulent Gatsby but in productions ranging from Moulin Rouge! to Strictly Ballroom.

He is repped by WME.

 

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com
Twitter: @borys_kit