HONG KONG — Production begins today on “Rise of the Legend,” a kung fu movie that attempts to revive Wong Fei-hung, one of the iconic old names of the Chinese action genre, but who has been absent from the big screen for some 20 years.
Born in the mid-19th century Foshan, Wong was an acupuncturist and revolutionary as well as a leading martial arts teacher. Known as ‘ Master Wong,’ his character has featured in Jet Li vehicle “Once Upon A Time in China,” and the Jackie Chan classic “Drunken Master” as well as being the protagonist in a series of 89 movies made in Hong Kong after 1949.
The producers have set Chow Hin-yeung, discovered with Edko’s “Murderer” and Edko and Irresistible’s “Nightfall” as the director. Corey Yuen will choreograph the stunts as action director.
The cast includes martial arts veteran Sammo Hung, mainland Chinese teen heartthrob Jing Boran and martial arts champion Zhang Jin, but the lead role will only be divulged in the next days.
“A real kung fu movie is a rare occasion these days, which is why I want to pay tribute to this genre,” Kong said in a statement. Kong previously revived another martial arts legend Huo Yuanjia, as the hero of Ronny Yu’s 2006 “Fearless.”
Wong, a proponent of the ‘Hung Gar’ form of kung fu, opened his first martial arts school at age 17 and Chow says the story will focus on Wong’s early years. “I aim to portray the legendary character from a different angle – a young man with dream. His dream is the only thing that holds him together,” he said.
The film is to be released in the second half of 2014.