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If you spot a Hoff lookalike at this year’s Comic-Con, it might not be an elaborate fanboy costume.
News has reached The Hollywood Reporter that the 80s icon, former America’s Got Talent judge and one-time hit-maker with “Looking For Freedom,” which topped the German charts in 1989, isn’t only set to appear at the San Diego event this July, he’s going to sing, too.
“He coming to Comic-Con,” David Sandberg, the Swedish director of Kickstarter-funded short Kung Fury, which recently had its world premiere in Cannes as part of the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar, tells THR. “And he really wants to perform.”
Last month, Sandberg unveiled The Hoff as the singer of Kung Fury’s theme song “True Survivor,” adding some turbo charge to an already runaway online sensation. The two-minute promo for Kung Fury — an intentionally over-the-top, mostly green screen-made homage to cheesy 80s martial arts and action films in which Sandberg himself stars as a “renegade Kung Fu” cop sent back in time to defeat Hitler — has racked up 10 million hits on YouTube since it was first uploaded in December 2013.
But the video for “True Survivor,” an 80s pop-inspired dance track, topped this figure in under four weeks. The runaway hit features a lot of dry ice and Hasselhoff singing in front of a Lamborghini Countach, sporting classic retro attire including fingerless gloves.
Hasselhoff had actually been rumored to be coming to Cannes to help support the film, but it never materialized.
“He wanted to come so bad,” says Sandberg. “But we needed a stage and it was hard to get one at such a short notice.”
Even without The Hoff’s presence, Kung Fury still managed to do decent business on the French Riviera, picking up an international VoD distributor with Paris-based outfit Under the Milky Way. It also found a U.S. TV deal with Robert Rodriguez’ El Rey network, where it is due to have its premiere on May 28, the same day the full 30-minute short is aired online.
“It seemed like such a great fit for the project,” says Sandberg of the El Rey deal. “I didn’t know what they were about, but then I heard it was Robert Rodriguez’ and all about action films. It seems really awesome.”
Sandberg was also in Cannes to push the feature-length adaptation of Kung Fury, which has David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith’s banner KatzSmith Productions on board as producers.
Among those Sandberg says were interested in the film were French major Gaumont, who he says were laughing “uncontrollably” at the promo. “They absolutely loved it and wanted to work with us,” he says.
Hasselhoff’s Comic-Con performance is aimed at further promoting the feature, which Sandberg says he wants to get started on this fall.
“We’re still working on the script. It’s not 100 percent — we’re on our first draft and it needs to be finely tuned,” he says. “But I really want to go.”
As for the Cannes premiere, screening on May 21 after what Sandberg describes as two “pretty slow, artsy” shorts, Kung Fury was a “total shock” to the 500-strong audience.
“People were spontaneously cheering and laughing. For the first 10 minutes, you couldn’t even hear.”
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