It was first announced in April that Keanu Reeves planned on making his directorial debut with the martial arts movie Man of Tai Chi. Ever since, Reeves has been in talks with Village Roadshow Asia and China Film Group to make it happen. Reeves has finally made the deal, teaming with Universal and Wanda Media in addition to Village Roadshow and China Film Group to make and distribute Man of Tai Chi. Tiger Chen, who was part of the Matrix stunt team, stars as “as a young martial artist whose fighting skills brings him to a realm of vast opportunities, and painful choices.” Reeves will also co-star as the villain.
Man of Tai Chi is scheduled to start shooting in February in China. Reeves will shoot in both Mandarin and English for the film, set in contemporary Beijing. Hit the jump for quotes from Reeves on his approach to the task at hand.
Back in April, Reeves promised he would not skimp on the kung fu:
“There’s 18 fights. We’ve timed it out. It’s about 40 minutes of fighting. I want to make a good, solid kung fu movie. Good story, good plot—but let’s get some good kung fu going!”
Reeves also noted the inherent difficulties with the truly international production, which must be daunting for the first time filmmaker:
“We want to do it in Chinese and English, do it as kind of a co-production with CFG perhaps, which is a Chinese film group, kind of a studio. It’s tricky.”
I honestly don’t know if Reeves can pull this off, but I am happy he will get the opportunity to try.
Amazingly, Man of Tai Chi is still a close second in Upcoming Martial Arts Movies from Unexpected Sources to The Man of the Iron Fist, a kung fu movie written and directed by RZA, starring Russell Crowe.