Helming credits include 'The Big Hit'

Kirk Wong will develop and direct the feature version of Marvel Enterprises’ comic book “Iron Fist” for Artisan Entertainment.

Wong, whose directing credits include “The Big Hit,” will direct Ray Park (“Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace”) as the film’s title character from a script written by John Turman (“The Incredible Hulk”). Principal photography is expected to begin late this year or in early 2002.

“Iron Fist” is the first film to come out of Artisan and Marvel’s joint venture to develop, produce and distribute character-based programming. Marvel CEO Ari Arad will produce.

“Iron Fist” tells the story of Danny Rand, who was raised in a secret temple in the Far East and, as an adult, returns to the United States to seek revenge on his parents’ murderer. The character has the power to channel his “chi” into his fist and strike with the force of iron.

Of Wong, Arad said, “His insight and knowledge is exactly what is needed to launch the ‘Iron Fist’ film franchise — hopefully to a legacy of several sequels.”

Wong, who’s repped by UTA, directed “Crime Story” starring Jackie Chan as well as numerous action titles in his native Hong Kong.

The negotiations were handled on Artisan’s behalf by executive VP Patrick Gunn along with Erin Austin, the company’s VP of legal and business affairs.

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