Baz Luhrmann in Talks to Direct Martial Arts Western Adaptation KUNG FU

     April 11, 2014


Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has a penchant for displays of extravagance, and now it looks like he might next be putting his talents towards a martial arts Western adaptation of a popular TV show.  THR reports that the Great Gatsby director is in talks to helm an adaptation of the 1970s TV series Kung Fu, which starred David Carradine and revolved around a Shaolin monk who came to the American West in search of his half-brother.  Legendary Pictures is producing the effort, and the 19th Century-set feature would certainly make for an ambitious challenge for Luhrmann.  The director has yet to tackle an action-oriented pic, opting instead for the operatic or theatrical with films like Moulin Rouge! and Australia.

Hit the jump for more on the Kung Fu movie adaptation, including how the film will differ from the TV series.

kung-fu-david-carradinePer THR, this new Kung Fu iteration would move the action from America to China and would see the Shaolin monk character of Kwai Chang Caine in search of his father.  That is, if Luhrmann maintains the basic structure of the existing script.  Should Luhrmann sign on to direct, he’s expected to first do a rewrite on the script, which was initially written by XXX scribe Rich Wilkes.

Legendary Pictures has been making a concerted effort to ramp up its Chinese-centric projects in the past year, developing an adventure film called The Great Wall that currently has Zhang Yimou in talks to direct.  This new Kung Fu movie adaptation certainly fits within this wheelhouse, and the courting of Luhrmann signals that the studio is looking for top tier talent to bring these films to fruition instead of simply rushing potentially profitable projects through production.

Luhrmann has yet to settle on his next project after Gatsby, and he is known for taking his time between projects.  He also doesn’t like repeating himself, and most recently we heard that he might be directing an HBO miniseries adaptation of Stanley Kubrick’s passion project Napoleon for producer Steven Spielberg.  We’ve yet to hear confirmation on that front, and if Luhrmann does sign on to Kung Fu, one imagines Spielberg will move on to a different filmmaker for Napoleon—Luhrmann also takes his time putting his projects together.

What do you think, readers?  Are you intrigued by the prospect of a Luhrmann-led Kung Fu movie or would you rather see another filmmaker tackle the property?  Sound off in the comments below after watching this compilation of clips from the Kung Fu TV series.


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  • Dedpool

    I’m down for this. I actually liked Kung-Fu: The Legend Continues as a show. Like the change for the Karate Kid remake I think this would definitely make the film more interesting with more interesting settings and such.

  • pickaname

    And the award for the most random thing goes to… But I suppose in Luhrman’s case that’s a good thing. I would like to see this side of him instead of the usual bazzle-dazzle he’s used to.

    • Norrtron

      Oh, there will still be loads of “bazzle-dazzle”, fear not.

  • Stiggs

    This will never happen.

  • Stiggs

    This will never happen.

  • Stiggs

    This will never happen.

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  • TheMattedScreen

    Huh… A: never thought I would ever see a legit Kung Fu movie, and B: Baz? It could work – it’d be entertaining to say the least.

    • The Flobbit

      With Baz Luhrmann, nothing is legit. Looking forward to seeing Ewan MacGregor as the Shaolin monk, who, in a giant setpiece, fights in a hot air balloon over a brothel in Arkansas while Jay-Z rap plays.

  • TheMattedScreen

    Huh… A: never thought I would ever see a legit Kung Fu movie, and B: Baz? It could work – it’d be entertaining to say the least.

  • Johnny209

    This is actually really exciting, I’m come to really appreciate Luhrman over the past few years. Other than the cartoony CGI the action sequences in Australia were very strong and his sense of visual style is very intriguing.

  • tarek

    Kung Fu is a great tv series. I love it.
    But Baz Luhrmann ? No thanks.

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