Wilkinson merges into ‘Rush Hour’

Tom Wilkinson, one of the cheeky lads in the full-frontal hit “The Full Monty,” has been cast in the upcoming thriller “Rush Hour,” which New Line Cinema begins shooting Nov. 30.

Wilkinson, a veteran British stage, television and film actor since the early 1970s before hitting it big with “Monty,” will star with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the production.

Brett Ratner, who recently helmed “Money Talks” for New Line, will direct. “Rush Hour” producers are Roger Birnbaum, Arthur Sarkissian and Jonathan Glickman.

The bulk of the production will film in Los Angeles, with some additional work likely in Hong Kong, Glickman said. The project has a 50-day shooting schedule.

Wilkinson plays the former head of the Hong Kong police who is also a confidant of the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. Things go awry when the ambassador’s daughter is kidnapped in Los Angeles. An LAPD detective (Tucker) is given the tricky assignment of keeping the ambassador’s chief of security (Chan) away from the case.

“We’re still casting, but we’ll be ready for production later this year,” said New Line spokesman Steve Elzer. Wilkinson’s career has ranged from a full slate of roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as other performances of Chekhov and Dickens’ works. Films include “In the Name of the Father,” ” Sense and Sensibility,” “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” and the upcoming “Oscar and Lucinda,” with Ralph Fiennes.

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