06/04/2007. Contributed by Jessica Martin
An American teenager who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kung-fu classics makes an extraordinary discovery in a Chinatown pawnshop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King. With the lost relic in hand, the teenager unexpectedly finds himself traveling back to ancient China to join a crew of warriors from martial arts lore on a dangerous quest to free the imprisoned Monkey King.
Lionsgate has announced that principal photography on the fantasy epic The Forbidden Kingdom will begin on May 2nd 2007 in China. Directed by Rob Minkoff (STUART LITTLE, THE LION KING), the film marks the first-ever onscreen pairing of martial arts superstars Jackie Chan (RUSH HOUR, DRUNKEN MASTER) and Jet Li (FEARLESS, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA).
The original screenplay by John Fusco (YOUNG GUNS, HIDALGO) is based on the traditional Chinese legend of the Monkey King. The film is produced by Casey Silver (LADDER 49, HIDALGO, the upcoming LEATHERHEADS, currently filming in South Carolina with director/star George Clooney and Renee Zellweger) of Casey Silver Productions.
Ryan Kavanaugh (3:10 TO YUMA, TALLEDEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY) will be serving as executive producer, while action choreographe Wo Ping (THE MATRIX, CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON) is creating the fight sequences, and the director of photography is Peter Pau (CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON). Overseeing the production for Lionsgate are President of Theatrical Films Tom Ortenberg, President of Film Production Mike Paseornek, and President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Peter Block.
Lionsgate plans a U.S. theatrical release in Summer 2008 and will co-release the film with The Weinstein Company.
"The Forbidden Kingdom has all the makings of a modern classic, and we are thrilled to fly its flag at Lionsgate," said Feltheimer. "Casey Silver scored a real coup in bringing together two titans of martial arts, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, for their first onscreen pairing. He also gave them a project that is absolutely worthy of their talents, built upon a very savvy script that combines Chinese legend with the story of a modern, kung-fu obsessed teenager. And Rob Minkoff is the ideal director to handle the film's combination of heart, head and lightning-fast limbs."
Silver added, "It's an honor to be working with Jackie and Jet, and a testament to the quality of John's script. Rob's passion and perspective on the movie promise an exciting ride for the audience. We're also terribly excited by the opportunity to collaborate with action director Wo Ping, DP Peter Pau, and a host of exceptionally talented performers and technicians from Asian cinema. Relativity has been a staunch advocate for the movie and I'm thrilled that we have the feisty folks at Lionsgate behind the release of the movie."
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