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Stephen Chow + The Green Hornet, Hollywood + Rashomon, and Perez Hilton + Korean pop stars. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
Stephen Chow makes Hollywood directing debut
King of comedy Stephen Chow will make his first Hollywood directing debut in Columbia Picture's Green Hornet. A comic remake of the Bruce Lee classic in the 60s, Green Hornet tells the story of newspaper publisher Britt Rei, who puts on a fancy mask at night to fight crime as Green Hornet, along with his Asian sidekick Kato. Chou will star as Kato opposite Knocked Up's Seth Rogen. A devout Bruce Lee fan, Stephen Chow expressed that it is both a "thrilling and humbling" experience to be following his idol's footstep. While media in Hong Kong and China are buzzing with the news of yet another one making it to Hollywood, local audiences are wondering if Rogen will get in shape in time for the action comedy. Green Hornet has its world premiere slated for Summer 2010. --Winghei Kwok
Uh oh, I smell trouble. Smells like...another potentially crappy Hollywood remake of a classic property. Hollywood-based Harbor Light Entertainment, Lexicon Filmed Entertainment, Singapore's Upside Down Entertainment, and Tokyo-based Lotus are combining their efforts to remake Akira Kurosawa's classic Rashomon. This English-language remake will move the setting from feudal Japan to contemporary America, where a court sorts out the facts behind the rape of a woman and her husband's murder. The group also plan to create The Masque of Black Death, an animated feature based on one of Kurosawa's unused scripts. The movie takes place in Russia during the early 20th century where a plague wipes out most of the population. Rashoman and The Masque of Black Death are set for release in 2010 to mark the 100th anniversary of Kurosawa's birth. --William Hong
The long-awaited Elephants are here
Rachael Yamagata's debut album Happenstance was released in 2004, and since then, Yamagata has been busy working behind-the-scenes with artists such as Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, Jason Mraz, Ray Lamontagne and Mandy Moore ("Wild Hope," good song). After four long years, Yamagata is front-and-center again with her two-disc release, Elephants, out October 7th. The two-disc format is supposed to provide two different musical experiences, one comprised of ballads and one that has more of an entergetic rock feel. The songs were created and recorded in a secluded studio during winter in the mountains of upstate New York, and the first disc's centerpiece is the anti-radio-friendly, nine-minute-long "Sunday Afternoon." While Happenstance producer John Alagia was back for two of the songs in Elephants, Bright Eyes member Mike Mogis produced most of the tracks on the new album. Go to Yamagata's website to get information on tour dates. She will be traveling with a respected group of female musicians on the Hotel Cafe tour. --Ada Tseng
Perez Hilton's Obsession with Kpop Divas
It's one thing to be hot in Asia -- but when celebrity blogger Perez Hilton places his stamp of approval on any unknown musical act or individual, it's bound to pick up some buzz. Recently, Hilton gave kudos to two Korean pop acts: girl group Wondergirls for their videos "Nobody" and "So Hot", while K-pop queen Hyori Lee was the latest to receive a nod for her latest single, "U Go Girl." While the posts elicited both positive and negative feedback, the fact remains that these Korean pop groups are gaining exposure through a website with 1.5 million hits monthly. In addition, Hilton had also reported on Choi Jin-Sil's suicide this past week -- another big news story in Korean entertainment. Does this mean a new avenue for Asian pop stars to break through? Hopefully, when BoA makes her American debut later this month, it'll catch Hilton's roving eye as well. --Kanara Ty
Keep an eye on Nam Le, he's under 35
Each year, the National Book Foundation makes fiction selections for "5 Under 35" -- five emerging authors under 35 years of age that are deemed worthy of watching due to their accomplishments in literature this year. Nam Le made this year's list for his debut collection of short stories, The Boat, which has earned much critical acclaim. He was nominated by Mary Gaitskill, who recently edited the 2009 edition of Best New American Voices, an annual collection of short stories that comes out of the top graduate writing programs in the country... so you know that she's been reading a lot of emerging fiction. (Le's short story "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice" was chosen for that collection.) Born in Vietnam, raised in Australia, Nam Le is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and has won numerous prizes that you can read about on his website. --Ada Tseng
Helmed by China-born American director Anna Chi and scripted by Shackle's Donald Martin, Dim Sum Funeral features a sexy cross-over cast from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Among them the Asian FHM's "Number 1 Sexiest in the World" Malaysian-born actress Steph Song, veteran film star and stud Russell Wong , Maxim's girl and X-Men star Kelly Hu, and the legendary Bai Ling, just to name a few. Likely to be sprinkled with bite-size awkward moments and mouthful of family drama, the comedy revolves around the reunion of four westernized Chinese American siblings at their mother's traditional Chinese funeral. To spice things up, the movie also involves lesbians, kung fu fighting scenes, and swimsuit shots. Dim Sum Funeral will premiere at the 13th Pusan International film festival on Oct 3 followed by Q&A section with director Chi, writer-producer Donald Martin as well as film stars Steph Song, Russell Wong and Lisa Lu. --Winghei Kwok
The Chinese delivery boy takes the lead
Take Out, a film by Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou, takes the Chinese delivery boy caricature and fleshes him out -- adding a smuggling debt, struggles with immigration, and one critical night to make enough money in tips to survive. The film takes place on a rainy day in modern-day Manhattan, and it stars Google-employee-by-day, actor-by-night Charles Jang as Chinese immigrant Ming Ding. Actress Wang-Thye Lee plalys the Chinese take-out matron, Big Sister. Although it was shot on digital video with a miniscule budget (reportedly $3000), Take Out has managed to get attention at key indie film festivals, as well as garnering good reviews from Variety, Film Threat, and The New York Times. Shih-Ching Tsou is a filmmaker from Taipei, and Sean Baker is known for co-creating the cult TV show Greg The Bunny. Take Out is currently playing at Los Angeles' ImaginAsian theater near Little Tokyo. --Ada Tseng
Date Posted: 10/3/2008