Comic book legend, Stan Lee has reteamed with regular collaborator Sharad Devarajan to launch Monkey Master as a new superhero. A “Monkey Master” film project brings together two of the world’s largest film industries and is being set up as a China-India co-production.
China’s Shinework Pictures has partnered with Lee’s media company POW! Entertainment, and Graphic India, to begin early pre-production on a live-action Chinese theatrical film. The film will also be co-produced with India’s Cinema Capital Advisory.
Shinework’s producing team will include Jonathan Shen, Iris Wang, and Daljit DJ Parmar. Gill Champion, CEO of POW! Entertainment will be a producer on the film, with Lee, Devarajan and Samir Gupta from Cinema Capital Advisory as executive producers. The film will primarily be targeted towards the Chinese market, but will also be developed to appeal to international markets globally. Casting will include leading Chinese, Indian, and international talent.
“We are excited to leverage Stan Lee’s experience creating some of the worlds most popular superhero characters to create an epic Chinese superhero film that will not only appeal to China but also globally to international markets,” said Jonathan Shen, Shinework Pictures founder and CEO. Shinework Pictures is the recently launched feature film division of long-established Chinese TV producer Shinework Media. The unit this week unveiled its debut slate of co-productions and confirmed that it has launched a film investment fund. It is already in post-production on another China-India co-venture “Kung Fu Yoga,” a $65 million effort starring Jackie Chan that is set to release in February 2017.
“The (‘Monkey Master’) story will take place between ancient and modern day China and India as the myth of monkey warriors, known to both cultures, come together in the creation of a modern day superhero,” said Devarajan, co-founder and CEO of Graphic India. “The film is on a fast-track development course and our ideal would be to get into production in the fourth quarter of 2017,” Champion told Variety. “The shooting language would most likely be in English.” Similarly, while no cast or directing talent has yet been attached, the helm is likely to be a western director, he said.
“I have always been fascinated by the Chinese and Indian cultures which are so philosophical and rich in tradition and morality,” Lee said in a prepared comment. “‘Monkey Master’ will be unique in how it interweaves Chinese and Indian myth to create a hero that will entertain fans across the world with his martial arts skills and unstoppable super-powers.”
Movies based on Lee’s characters – which include “X-Men,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and the up-coming “Dr. Strange” have grossed more than $15 billion in worldwide theaters. Other projects based on Lee’s characters in Asia include “Realm,” set up at China’s Fundamental Films, with Li Bingbing in talks to star, and “Chakra” with Graphic India, which is owned by U.S. comic book firm Liquid Comics and CA Media LP, the Asian investment arm of Peter Chernin’s The Chernin Group.