Action star Sammo Hung will take the helm of the production of “Seven Little Fortunes,” a feature film re-telling Hung’s childhood story where he and a generation of Hong Kong action movie icons such as Jackie Chan were coached by their mentor, Peking opera master Yu Jim-yuen.
Co-produced by Yuen Biao Films Production, Beijing Renxing Film Media Culture and Quanton Times Pictures, Hung will be the chief director of the film penned by Raymond To (“I Have A Date With Spring”). Yuen Biao, who also trained under master Yu, will executive produce the project.
Starring Tony Leung Ka-fai (“The Taking of Tiger Mountain,” “Cold War”) the film is expected to have a production budget of RMB50-100 million ($7.7 -$15.5 million). Shooting is expected to start in March 2022. International sales have not yet been determined.
Known as a strict teacher, Yu was the master of the China Drama Academy, a Peking opera school in Hong Kong in the 1960s that was famous for producing some of Hong Kong’s top performers including Chan, Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah (“Kung Fu Hustle,” “Australia”) and action choreographer Corey Yuen (“X-Men,” “The Expendables”).
“Seven Little Fortunes” was initially a name for one of the Peking opera performances featuring seven of Yu’s students, but which was later expanded to include all of Yu’s students. During its peak Yu had a total of more than 70 students, who were taught acrobatic and acting skills. Director and action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (“Matrix,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) and actress Yuen Qiu (“Kung Fu Hustle”) were also among Yu’s students.
The story of Yu and “Seven Little Fortunes” has been featured on the big screen previously, in 1998 drama “Painted Faces,” and in one of the short films directed Hung that featured in 2021 anthology film “Septet: The Story of Hong Kong.”
But the latest reincarnation is a different story, according to Yuen. “It’s not a remake of [“Painted Faces”]. It is a story about us, Seven Little Fortunes, our master and his relationship with us, told from our perspective,” Yuen told Variety.
Xiang Jie, a key investor of the film, said the project has taken years to prepare and the film will feature a young mainland Chinese cast to play the young version of the iconic action stars.