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Paramount Poised to Make Chinese Fantasy ‘The Monkey King’

Paramount Pictures is in advanced talks to be involved in the production of a new adaptation of Chinese literary fantasy “The Monkey King.” The studio is partnered with a trio of Chinese firms headed by Beijing Ruyi Xinxin Film Investment.

The story has been adapted countless times for big- and smallscreen in China. The new version will likely hew closest to a 1980s TV series and include several of the actors from the series, notably Zhang Jinlai (aka ‘Liuxiaolingtong’).

The project was announced on Wednesday at a ceremony in Beijing that involved Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman. Moore believes that by bringing Hollywood technology and storytelling skills, the picture will have international appeal beyond Greater China.

According to local media reports, the studio is expected to handle overseas distribution. Mark Johnson (“Rain Man,” “Breaking Bad”) is set to be one of the producers.

Although director and screenwriters were not confirmed, Ruyi Films said that production would start this year and that the theatrical release would be in 2016. The finished film is expected to be released in 3D.

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The story is drawn from the classic 16th century novel “Journey to the West,” written by Chinese novelist and poet Wu Cheng’en. A 2014 film version grossed $167 million in China, and a sequel starring Gong Li is set to hit the screens in January next year.

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