Baz Luhrmann May Direct a Big Screen Reboot of 70's Show 'Kung Fu'

April 11, 2014
Source: THR

Baz Luhrmann / Kung Fu

Wait - does that sound right? Baz Luhrmann and Kung Fu? Well, this is certainly something interesting to talk about. THR is reporting that Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann is now in talks to direct a big screen reboot, or a re-adaptation, of the 1970s martial arts western TV show Kung Fu, which starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine. Luhrmann most recently brought an extravagant, music-filled adaptation of The Great Gatsby to the big screen last summer, and it sounds like this may be next for him at Legendary Pictures if things come together. It isn't finalized yet, but could be a fun chance for Luhrmann to branch out.

The project, with no other title other than Kung Fu so far, comes with a script by Rich Wilkes (of Airheads, xXx Trilogy, Punk Like Me, Iron Fist). In development at Legendary Pictures, the "big-screen adaptation" is one of the many projects they've launched that involves, and will shoot in, China. THR adds that "according to sources, the current script switches the action to China, sees Caine go in search of his father -- at one point ending up in a prison where he must fight to survive." If Luhrmann gets on board, he'll take a pass at the script and rework it to his liking, but likely still set in China. Luhrmann's filmography includes Great Gatsby, Australia, Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet, Strictly Ballroom, but not much martial arts action yet.

The original TV show being adapted, Kung Fu, starred David Carradine as a Shaolin monk who came to the American West in search of his half-brother. The show aired for three seasons on ABC from 1972 to 1975 and often used flashbacks to show Caine's training, where he was called "young grasshopper" which is when that first hit pop culture. It is a classic show with a cult following and could work well with a respectful, attentive update. To be honest, I didn't expect this to hit the big screen, but I am unquestionably curious to see what Baz Luhrmann, of all people, will do with a modernized take on Kung Fu. We'll keep an eye on this.

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Reader Feedback - 9 Comments


Thanks for this bit of fyi, Alex. I was a young guy back when this show was on. Just had began to get into all the Eastern Religion, Zen, etc. and this show incorporated all that into each show. It was really quite good in that respect. I'd love to see a big film if they got the spiritual philosophy practices in it. I don't see how they couldn't or wouldn't, but now days who knows. This director is also a bit over the top for this type of material, but hey...why not? I'm interested.

Bo on Apr 11, 2014


Being a fan of the tv show, I'm intrigued but I'd like to see someone other than Baz Luhrmann...the obvious choice being Tarantino.

cuckoozey on Apr 11, 2014


Well, maybe, but I'm not sure of that. At first glance maybe Tarantino. But after a moment of reflection I'm not sure QT's quirky sense of humor would fit this material. Plus, I seriously doubt QT would be able to grasp the depth and serious spirituality woven into the piece. Just my opinion and I could be wrong...but not sure Luhrmann could either.

Bo on Apr 12, 2014


Yeah you might have something with the humor vibe, but Tarantino did manage to pull off the serious vibe in his earlier films (Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown....). Still though I could see him putting a whole lot of Shaw Brothers "WACK!" sound effects.

cuckoozey on Apr 12, 2014


That's very funny, man...the 'WACK' sound. You're right, he probably would and there's no doubt that QT could shoot the kung fu stuff well, but like I said, he's so quirky that I doubt it would fit well...but who knows? He ain't gonna be doing it so there's that to

Bo on Apr 12, 2014


Why does that scare me? Seems like it could become far too fast paced.

Quanah on Apr 11, 2014


no...just no. I just don't want my eyes to puke...

carotene on Apr 11, 2014



MLTC on Apr 12, 2014


Wachoski Bros. anyone? This could be their chance to redeem themselves after killing,"Speed Racer" and the last 2 Matrix movies. Hell, Reeves could be Caine! on Apr 14, 2014

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