EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to the 1972 TV series Kung Fu for a contemporary-set action packed feature film that will be directed by David Leitch, the co-director of John Wick and director of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde.
They will set a writer quickly. The original ABC series starred David Carradine as a master martial artist who fled China after his master was murdered. He wandered the Old West helping the downtrodden and weathering rampant racism while eluding assassins trying to kill him. He was a peaceful man until provoked, which happened at least once an episode. Given the action pedigree for the stuntman-turned-director Leitch, there is potential for the kind of choreographed action mayhem found in Hobbs & Shaw as well as John Wick, latter of which he did with Chad Stahelski. Leitch is separately attached to direct a remake of Bruce Lee’s iconic 1973 martial arts film Enter the Dragon at Warner Bros.
Kelly McCormick and Leitch will produce through their Universal-based 87North Productions along with Stephen L’Hereaux and his Solipsist Film banner. Ed Spielman, creator of the television series, will executive produce.
Universal Executive Vice President of Production Matt Reilly will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
McCormick and Leitch produced the Ilya Naishuller-directed action pic Nobody for Universal, which releases August 14.
Leitch and McCormick are represented by WME and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, Inc.
Deal comes as the CW put in development last fall a female-driven Kung Fu series remake from the Blindspot team of writer-executive producer Christina M. Kim, creator-executive producer Martin Gero, executive producers Greg Berlanti & Sarah Schechter and Warner Bros. TV.