Bill Paxton has been working on script for Kung Fu, a new movie with Legendary East based on the TV show with David Carradine from the 70s.
In an interview with Twitch, Paxton talked a bit about the project noting that the project is about a “Chinese-something” in a western world. He also teased that the actor would have to be a skilled martial artists and the film would be respectful to the original and unlike any film that exists now.
Paxton made sure to pay respect to the original show and noted that the reason why many tv to movie adaptations fail is because they lack that respect for the original. “We went back, John McLaughlin and myself, and we watched the original three seasons,” he said. “The fighting is important, but people remember the Shaolin teachings, that he would take so much and then start wailing.”
When he talked about the storyline he said that it would be very similar to the original and would have “Caine as a young man, in the American West of the 1870s looking for his birth father.” He calls that the “A” story and then the “B” story would show his background in flashback like stories.
He talked about the original being very cheap and how his version will be much more high budget and time intensive. “The original series was shot so cheap and so low budget. They used the old Camelot set on the redressed back lot of Warner Brothers. They’d be shooting a railway camp and there might be 15 extras, and we’re going to have 10,000 men on a hill building a trellis. We’re going to be bringing a scale and a grandeur that the story should have always had, but because of budget and time they were unable to.”
The entire project is being shot in China, even though it will be taking place a town that looks more like a Western. This is happening because funding is coming from the company and the studio Legendary is using its new branch Legendary East to finance the project that centers on “a Western with an Eastern hero.”
Paxton wants to separate this Kung Fu from other titles by having more violence and realism, making is more of a Western, without wire work. Instead of creating a martial arts film based around a Western, he wants to “make it a Western with martial arts.”
His character is also set apart from others because “he’s a product of both worlds.” “He’s raised in China he comes to the West, by the time he goes back to China in the third act he’s picked up a bit of a Western thing.”