The first film pairing of kung fu stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li will tell the tale of an American teenager’s fantasy journey to ancient China to rescue a mythological monkey king, the film’s U.S. distributor said Wednesday.
“The Forbidden Kingdom” will start shooting May 2 in movie studios in Hengdian, located southwest of Shanghai, and neighboring locations, the movie’s producer, Casey Silver, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
The project has drawn attention because of the teaming of the two stars but plot details have been scarce.
The story line originates from the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” in which a monkey king helps guard a Buddhist monk who searches for religious texts.
In this new version, the teenager, a fan of kung fu movies, travels back in time after discovering the monkey king’s stick weapon in a Chinatown pawn shop, film distributor Lionsgate said in a news release.
While Chan’s and Li’s roles are still under wraps, the film could offer a sharp contrast of fighting styles. Chan is known for his improvisational, defensive moves while Li tends to dominate his on-screen opponents.
Famed kung fu choreographer Yuen Woo-ping, known for his work on the “Matrix” trilogy, will design the action sequences in “Forbidden Kingdom,” and Rob Minkoff, who made “Stuart Little” and “The Lion King,” will direct the movie. Cinematographer Peter Pau, who won an Oscar for his work on “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” will shoot the movie.
Both Chan and Li made their names in Hong Kong cinema before moving on to Hollywood.
Chan was recently filming the third installment of the “Rush Hour” series with Chris Tucker. Li’s recent Hollywood credits include “Cradle 2 the Grave” and “Kiss of the Dragon.”