EXCLUSIVE: Celebrated Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa, known for franchise movies Ong Bak, Furious 7 and xXx: Return of Xander Cage, is to lead an English-language action trilogy from Midway and Crazy Rich Asians backer Starlight Entertainment.
In the first installment of what is hoped will be a three-picture franchise, Muay Thai master Jaa will play a legendary assassin who disappeared three years ago and becomes the target of all criminal organizations and law enforcement agencies. According to producers, the story will unfold in an unconventional structure and as the manhunt accelerates, the mystery of the assassin’s identity is slowly unraveled.
Producing the as-yet untitled trilogy are Peter Luo (Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark), Jaa, and Mike Selby (Triple Threat). Starlight will finance and is aiming to shoot in 2021.
Starlight CEO Luo, who originated the movie for Jaa, said: “Tony is the perfect artist to lead this fast moving, adrenaline rush of a movie, where the physical demands match the traditional leading man visceral performance needs. He’ll be able to demonstrate his full, and extremely impressive, repertoire of skills to elevate this story, which will have inherent cross-border appeal globally.”
Beverly Hills-based financier Starlight has previously brokered content deals with filmmakers including Robert Zemeckis, Sam Raimi, Sylvester Stallone, James Wan, F. Gary Gray, Roland Emmerich, and Jon M. Chu. Upcoming for the firm are Sony Pictures movie Umma starring Sandra Oh and Donnie Yen movies Golden Empire and Wuhan Wuhan.
Jaa is represented by the Gersh Agency, SC Film Films Thailand, WonderStreet management, and law firm Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver & Thompson.