NEW YORK — After introducing Hong Kong action star Jet Li to Hollywood with “Lethal Weapon 4” and current pic “Romeo Must Die,” Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver have made a deal to develop “The First King,” an action film based on an idea by Li.
Thesp will be paid a career-best sum of more than $5 million against 5% of the pic’s first-dollar gross.
Inspired by the first king of China, the actioner marries “Indiana Jones” with “The Mummy” as the monarch and his court are brought back to life in modern times.
Li will play the king and will produce the film with Silver and Dan Cracchiolo of Silver Pictures. They will hire a screenwriter and fast-track the pic, with production to start next year.
Li and Silver are enjoying the success of “Romeo,” which cost just $25 million but has grossed almost $50 million domestically for WB. Silver is also producing the second and third installments to “The Matrix,” and it looks likely that writer-director team Andy and Larry Wachowski will enlist Li to join the cast for the two sequels.
Universal is also courting Li for the screen version of “The Green Hornet”; he would play Kato, a role originated by Bruce Lee.
Li, who was paid $3 million for “Romeo,” is repped by Steve Chasman of Immortal Entertainment and attorneys David Feldman and Jake Bloom.