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Kung Fu is finding new life. Universal has optioned the 1970s martial arts Western television show and is developing it as a big-screen property with director David Leitch, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
David Carradine starred in the Kung Fu TV series, which ran on ABC from 1972 to 1975. The show followed Kwai Chang Caine (Carradine), a Shaolin monk who came to the American West in search of his half brother. Kung Fu gained a cult following and injected the phrase “young grasshopper” into the pop culture lexicon via flashbacks to Caine’s training as a teenager.
Kelly McCormick and Leitch are producing Kung Fu via their Universal-based 87North Productions alongside Stephen L’Hereaux. Kung Fu TV creator Ed Spielman will executive produce. Universal executive vp production Matt Reilly will oversee for the studio.
Leitch directed last year’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw for Universal, and is also known for helming Deadpool 2 (2018) and Atomic Blonde (2017). He began his career in stunts and broke out as a filmmaker by co-directing John Wick (2014). Leitch and McCormick are next in theaters with Nobody, the Bob Odenkirk thriller they produced and which opens Aug. 14 from Universal.
In addition to the big-screen Kung Fu, an unrelated TV version is in development at the CW and would put an Asian American woman in the lead.
Leitch and McCormick are represented by WME and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, Inc.
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