Duo to star together for first time
Let the fight begin.Jackie Chan and Jet Li will star together for the first time in a $70 million family pic that Relativity Media will finance and Casey Silver produces. Robert Minkoff will direct, while martial arts expert Yuen Woo-Ping (“The Master”) will create the action sequences. Shooting is set for April. Film is one of two new big-budget projects that Relativity — backed by hedge fund money — will be offering to buyers at the American Film Market, which unspools Wednesday in Santa Monica. The second is Brian De Palma’s $70 million prequel “The Untouchables: Capone Rising,” which Paramount will distribute domestically. Both films will be repped at AFM by Mario Kassar’s Magnetik Media, which also will be selling Relativity’s previously announced Russell Crowe-Christian Bale starrer “3:10 to Yuma,” which James Mangold is shooting. Chan-Li starrer, known as the untitled J&J project, has been rumored for some time, but Relativity, headed by Ryan Kavanaugh, boarded only recently. John Fusco script is based on the legend of the monkey king and his quest to achieve immortality. Li is set to play two roles, that of the monkey king and the silent monk. Chan will play the monk T’sa-Ho. The two martial-arts masters have long said they would like to appear together in a film and fight each other. Project is sure to garner keen interest at AFM, with Chan and Li enjoying superstar status in Asia and solid name recognition among teen action fans worldwide. Talks are already under way between Relativity and U.S. distribs. When promoting the U.S. bow of Li’s most recent movie, “Fearless,” Rogue Pictures touted it as his last martial-arts epic. Relativity describes its project as more of an action-adventure with martial-arts sequences. Minkoff’s credits include “The Lion King” and “Stuart Little.” Fusco most recently penned “Hidalgo.” Silver is producer of the Chan-Li pic, while Kavanaugh will exec produce. Kavanaugh also will take an exec producer credit on “The Untouchables” prequel, set to start shooting in June. Art Linson, who produced De Palma’s original “Untouchables,” is producing. Prequel was originally set up at Paramount. Relativity recently struck a deal to finance and produce, with Par agreeing to distribute in the U.S. Writing duo Brian Koppelman and David Levien penned the script for “Untouchables: Capone Rising,” which charts Chicago mob boss Al Capone’s rise to power and his relationship with police detective and nemesis Jimmy Malone. Koppelman and Levien, who wrote “Ocean’s Thirteen,” also penned “Runaway Jury” and “Rounders.” Magnetik will rep overseas rights to “Yuma,” “Untouchables” and the Chan-Li pic through its new nonexclusive deal with Relativity.