EXCLUSIVE: Tran Quoc Bao’s The Paper Tigers has set its cast with Alain Uy (The Morning Show, The Passage, True Detective Season 2), Ron Yuan (Marco Polo, forthcoming live-action Mulan), and Mykel Shannon Jenkins (Undisputed 3: Redemption, The Gods) toplining the kung fu action comedy and Jae Suh Park (Friends from College) and Raymond Ma (Always Be My Maybe) stepping into supporting roles. The film is currently in production in Seattle.
Bao’s feature debut features Yuan, Uy, and Jenkins playing former Kung Fu prodigies who are now washed-up middle-aged men, one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. When their master is murdered, they must escape their dead-end jobs and overcome old grudges to avenge his death. The feature is an homage to Seattle’s martial arts scene from the 1970s and 1980s as well as the legendary Bruce Lee — a name that has been making headlines due to Quentin Tarantino’s divisive portrayal of him in his latest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The film also features Matt Page (Sicario, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot), as well as Andy Le (Unlucky Stars, Luc Van Tien: Tuyet Dinh Kung Fu), Brian Le (Into the Badlands, Lucifer), La’Tevin Alexander (Portlandia, Grimm), Tee Dennard (East of the Mountains, Sadie), Joziah Lagonoy (SEAL Team, Fuller House), and Phillip Dang of 102 Productions.
Bao is a mentee of the famed Hong Kong action director Corey Yuen. He was an editor for Trung So (Jackpot), which was Vietnam’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Academy Awards.
The Paper Tigers is produced by Michael Velasquez, Al’n Duong, Yuji Okumoto, and Daniel Gildark. The film was developed in part by the Frontiéres Platform at the Cannes Film Festival/Marchédu Film, an incubator for genre films around the world. XYZ Films (Nate Bolotin) will handle North American sales and AMP International will handle global sales.
Uy is repped by GVA Talent Agency and Zero Gravity; Yuan by Greene & Associates Talent Agency; and Jenkins by Momentum Talent and Literary Agency. Park is repped by Gersh and LINK Entertainment and Ma is repped by Almond Talent Agency.