Last year, director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) signed a first-look deal with Universal Pictures after delivering the studio their Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, which earned an impressive $758.9 million at the global box office.
Deadline now reports that Leitch is attached to direct a feature film remake of the classic David Carradine (Kil Bill) television series Kung Fu for the studio.
Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to the 1972 TV series Kung Fu for a contemporary-set action packed feature film that will be directed by David Leitch, the co-director of John Wick and director of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde. David Leitch Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock They will set a writer quickly.
The original ABC series starred David Carradine as a master martial artist who fled China after his master was murdered. He wandered the Old West helping the downtrodden and weathering rampant racism while eluding assassins trying to kill him. He was a peaceful man until provoked, which happened at least once an episode.
Along with the wave of films from the Shaw Brothers and Bruce Lee’s Enter The Dragon, the series helped to bring martial to American pop-culture and also changed the landscape of action films for decades.
Quentin Tarantino loved the show and homaged it multiple times in his two-part martial arts epic Kill Bill starring David Carradine as the titular Bill, who happened to also play the flute.
The series also got a revival sequel in the 1990s titled Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, which was set during modern-day New York City and had more of a father-and-son angle. The show aired between 1993 and 1997.
I’m slightly curious which version they might attempt here as it might be cheaper to do a modern version with an older lead like Donnie Yen playing Caine and a younger son as an NYPD detective in the son role.
Then again, we don’t have many martial arts westerns being made.
This isn’t the only classic martial arts remake project David Leitch is involved with as he was attached to direct a remake of Bruce Lee’s Enter The Dragon for Warner Bros., however, there hasn’t been much movement on that film.
Interesting enough, the people involved with the original 1972 series decided to not cast the Green Hornet’s Bruce Lee in the lead role of Kwai Chang Caine and hired David Carradine instead, who was neither Asian or had any martial arts training at the time. This was one of the last straws for Lee, who then went to Hong Kong to start starring in movies instead of being passed over for roles in America.
Hopefully, Universal is smart enough to hire a Chinese/Asian actor to lead the film instead of hiring another white actor.