‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Director Jared Hess to Helm ‘Shanghai’ Sequel

     September 6, 2016

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Rest easy, Shanghai Noon fans: another sequel is on the way. In the wake of the massive success of 1998’s Rush Hour, which teamed up Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan with fast-talking comedic actor Chris Tucker, studios were eager to cash in on this lucrative premise. Thus, in the year 2000, Shanghai Noon was born. The film teamed Chan up with Owen Wilson, this time against the backdrop of the Wild West in an action buddy comedy with one-liners to spare. The film was a success and spawned a British-centric sequel in 2003, Shanghai Knights, and while a third film was discussed, it’s taken until now to come to fruition.

We learned last May that MGM was indeed moving forward with Shanghai Dawn, with Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan eyed to reprise their roles, and now THR reports that Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess is coming aboard to take the helm. He steps in the shoes of Noon’s Tom Dey (Marmaduke) and KnightsDavid Dobkin (Wedding Crashers), and the move comes as the latest in a series of more commercial moves for the filmmaker who got his start with the little-comedy-indie-that-could.

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Image via Buena Vista Pictures

Wilson and Chan remain in talks to return for the film, and while story details are being kept under wraps, shortly after the release of Shanghai Knights there was talk of the franchise going to Hollywood, Africa, or the Egyptian Pyramids. Hess will be working from a story by Noon and Knights scribes Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, while Theodore Riley and Aaron Buchsbaum are handling script duties.


Hess most recently helmed the studio comedy Masterminds starring Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig, which was supposed to be released last fall but was subsequently postponed due to Relativity Media’s bankruptcy woes. The film is now on track for release this fall, and in the meantime Hess has stayed busy directing episodes of The Last Man on Earth and the upcoming Fox comedy Son of Zorn. Shanghai Dawn will certainly mark his biggest project to date, but I’m curious to see if interest exists for a sequel to a movie that came out over 15 years ago. For every Jurassic World there’s an Independence Day: Resurgence.

What say you, folks? Are you down for another Shanghai movie? Sound off in the comments below.

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