Justin Lin is making his first filmic foray into China, and into 3D. The director plans to helm a remake of 1982’s The Shaolin Temple which starred Jet Li in his debut role. Hot off a press conference in Beijing to announce the project, Lin’s partner at Perfect Storm Entertainment, CEO Troy Craig Poon, tells me the plan is to hire “an A+ list Hollywood writer to tackle the story” although there is no start date for now. “We will commence only when we feel this is ready,” says Poon. The 1982 Shaolin Temple was a Hong Kong martial arts movie directed by Chang Hsin Yen. The original story was based on Shaolin folklore and set during the transition period between the Sui Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty. When the Tang emperor is betrayed by one of his generals, the son of one of his slave workers escapes to the temple, trains in kung fu, and sets out to kill the traitor. The remake project is a collaboration of Beijing Enlight Pictures, Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars and Perfect Storm. Poon, Wu and Enlight’s Wang Changtian will produce. Poon says the budget will be north of $100M and that the idea is for it to be a “blockbuster unlike ever seen for (the Chinese) market.” He believes the timing of the film could coincide with China becoming the world’s No. 1 movie market.
“The aim is to make an unprecedented Chinese-based tentpole with story, style and scope that will resonate with global audiences as well,” Poon says. The film is planned as a Mandarin-language effort, although an alternative-language version may be explored as well. Lin begins filming the next installment of the Bourne franchise later this year for Universal which recently set an August 14, 2015 release date.