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Neil Gaiman & James Cameron Join Forces for 'Journey to the West'

by
March 10, 2011
Source: Variety

Journey to the West

Though the project is still in the early stages of development, over in Beijing plans were just announced for an epic $300 million trilogy adaptation of the ancient Chinese folk tale Journey to the West, a story that is considered one of the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese literature. Variety reports producer Zhang Jizhong has snagged Coraline and Stardust author Neil Gaiman to script the adaptation. In addition to that, James Cameron will advise on the script as well as several sects of technology, including shooting in 3D. If that's not enough, they have their eyes on Guillermo del Toro to direct at least one of the films.

Though he's lined up Pacific Rim as his next film (since At the Mountains of Madness sadly fell apart), del Toro's participation wouldn't be hard to obtain. Not only is Gaiman close friends with the visionary filmmaker, but del Toro was working closely with Cameron in their attempt to get the new dead H.P. Lovecraft adaptation off the ground. The story sounds like it could be right up the director's alley as it follows the events that befall the Monkey King, armed with a magic staff, as he journeys with a monk, a pig spirit and a fish spirit to India to retrieve Buddha's scrolls in an effort to find enlightenment. Of course, del Toro has said that he wants to see a treatment before making any kind of commitment.

The production will happen in China since it's so much cheaper to shoot in the country, but the film will be in the English language and use both Chinese and Western talent on camera. Zhang has already produced a TV adaptation of Journey to the West, and countless other adaptations have been made as well. Though the story hasn't exactly penetrated American pop culture, Gaiman isn't worried about the story crossing over. The author says, "There is nothing inherently Greek about The Odyssey. These are big stories that work with people. There are 2,000 pages filled with adventures. The delight and the challenge is to write a story that for 1.4 billion people is in their DNA." After all, the language of adventure is universal, right?

Not only is this adaptation on the scale of a Hollywood undertaking, the plan is for three films initially, which means there may be plans for even more films from the sprawling story to be adapted down the road. I'm not familiar with the Chinese story, but if you take Gaiman, Cameron and del Toro and bring them together for a project like this, then people (myself among them) will clamor to theaters to see it. Interested?

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  • Roderick
    bet you its doing to be in english and will all be white.
    • Roderick
      going to be***
      • Roderick
        and the actors will all be white******************
        • "The production will happen in China since it's so much cheaper to shoot in the country, but the film will be in the English language and use both Chinese and Western talent on camera." Did you read the article?
          • Roderick
            yes i did read the article. bet you the main male actors are gonna be white and the female characters are asian.
  • Stan
    Can't go past the Japanese series MONKEY! Great sage, equal of Heavan! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkNAcXWB9LQ&feature=related 'The spirit of monkey was irrepressible!'
  • Shikaka
    The recent video game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is based on the same fable and was recently well received. I'm surprised the Ethan isn't familiar with the subject matter, as the Japanese series Monkey (known by 80s kids everywhere as Monkey Magic) got a tonne of air play in Western countries in the 80s and 90s. I figured it was a staple part of every gen-x/y childhood.
  • Anonymous
    Anyone who has ever seen Dragonball (Z, GT, WTF, BBQ, whatever) will think of Goku when they see the Monkey King. There's been many adaptations of this story, but I particularly liked The Forbidden Kingdom, if only to see Jet Li and Jackie Chan together in the same film.
  • Roderick
    Goku's character was based off of the monkey king from journey to the west. staff and and cloud and monkey tail.
  • Someone
    As long as the main characters are of Asian descent, I'm happy. There can't be any justification of doing an adaptation of Journey to the West if any of the 4 main characters are portrayed by white people.
  • Awesomealvin
    Hollywood took away the only Asian superhero (Goku) (got some white trash to play it). Now they are going to ruin one of my childhood heros with another white guy who would end up having an sexy Asian actress as the love interest. What are they going to do next? Get some white guy to play Bruce Lee??? That is why there has yet to be a successful Asian actor in Hollywood.
  • amazing~
  • Journey to the West 西天取经。。。。。
    • Cai_tian_long
      西游记
  • they better do it good cuz as soon as i read "journey to the west" in the title i dropped everything to just read this!

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