Smitha Radhakrishnan reports on two of the documentary selections from this year's San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
Directors Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel probe the Kashmiri conflict by turning their cameras on themselves in Project Kashmir.
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Jay Chou is Kato, Rain takes over Bruce Lee's moves, and Ponyo opens in the US. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
The Green Hornet Update: Jay Chou to Play Kato
Taiwanese pop singer Jay Chou has been officially cast to play Kato in The Green Hornet, starring Seth Rogan and directed by Michel Gondry. The role of Kato has been in question for some time, especially after actor Stephen Chow, who was originally going to play Kato and direct the film, dropped out of the project last month. “Jay is incredibly unique and charming and fights like a wild dog! When I filmed him next to Seth, they had such great chemistry, and I knew the movie will be great” Gondry said. The sidekick Kato was first made famous by martial arts legend Bruce Lee in the 1960s television series. “It's an overwhelming experience to take on a role made famous by Bruce Lee. I won't try to be Bruce Lee's Kato -- I will try to bring my own interpretation to the part,” Chou said. Chou, who is famous for his music and singer career, is no stranger to the screen. He has starred in a number of Chinese films including last year's Kung Fu Dunk and 2006's Curse of the Golden Flower. He has also made his directing debut with Secret in 2007. The latest movie adaptation of The Green Hornet is co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and will be based upon the "The Green Hornet” radio series created by George W. Trendle. The movie is scheduled for release in the summer of 2010. --Michael Lom
Rain offered starring role in Enter the Dragon remake
South Korean pop singer/actor Rain has been offered the leading role in Warner Brothers' remake of Bruce Lee's 1973 martial arts classic Enter the Dragon. Warner Brothers' offer to Rain was confirmed by J Tune Entertainment, Rain's agency, on Thursday August 6. However, J Tune Entertainment also stated that Rain has not made a final decision and refused to discuss any details. Rain, who stars in the Wachowski Brothers' Ninja Assassin, scheduled for release this November, is currently preparing for his next Asian concert tour later this year. Warner Brothers' remake of Enter the Dragon will be written and directed by Kurt Sutter, executive producer of FX's The Shield, and produced by John Wells, Fred Weintraub and Paul Heller. As reported by Variety, the remake will be a noir-style, “contemporized drama about a lone FBI agent who pursues a rogue Shaolin monk into the bloody world of underground martial arts fight clubs. The original film starred Lee as a martial artist who's drafted by law enforcement to participate in a martial arts tournament and infiltrate a drug smuggling operation run from the host's heavily guarded island. --Michael Lom
Miyazaki's Ponyo Opens Friday
Disney will be releasing Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki's latest movie Ponyo in theaters on Friday. Ponyo is a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersons' The Little Mermaid, in which a fish named Ponyo wants to become a little girl. The English-language version will be voiced by Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Miley Cyrus' little sister Noah and the Jonas Brothers' younger brother Frankie. Miyazaki is best know by American audiences for is 2003 Spirited Away, which won an Oscar for best animated film. --Michael Lom
Maggie Q to Star in Priest
Maggie Q will star in the Priest. alongside Cam Gigandet and Paul Bettany. The screen adaptation by Cory Goodman is based on the TokyoPop comic Priest, in which humans and vampires are at war. The story tells of a warrior priest who goes against the church to track down a band of vampires who have kidnapped his niece. Maggie Q will play priestess vampire hunter who joins the warrior priest (Bettany) and sheriff (Gigandet) team. Maggie Q has starred in Mission: Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard. Priest is directed by Scott Stewart and is produced by U.S. film studio Screen Gems. The film is scheduled to be released in August 2010. --Michael Lom
Check out Lodestone's latest show, Closer Than Ever
In 1989, Closer Than Ever, directed by Maltby and Steven Scott Smith, premiered off-Broadway. It won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and was nominated for multiple Drama Desk Awards. This month, Closer Than Ever is being revived with an all Asian-American cast, and this rendition is being directed by Lodestone Theatre's Philip W. Chung & Chil Kong. The impressive cast includes Sharline Liu (Flower Drum Song), DT Matias (A Chorus Line), Blythe Matsui (Miss Saigon), Paul Nakauchi (West End Revival of King and I), and Erin Quill (Avenue Q). The original songs deal with such diverse topics as aging, mid-life crisis, second marriages and unrequited love. Performances will continue up until August 30th. Click here for more information about tickets. --Kristie Hang
WNBA LA Sparks: Asian American Night
The Los Angeles Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the LA Sparks would like to invite those interested in the Asian American culture or basketball to come out on Tuesday, August 25th and welcome Chen Nan, the 4th Chinese player to be drafted to the WNBA. Nan has been dubbed female Yao Ming. Additional festivities to follow during half-time and post game including performance by Kaba Modern (America's Best Dance Crew Season 1), a visit from the Miss Los Angeles Chinatown Court, a traditional lion dance, and a meeting with Chen Nan in person. This event wil be held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Tickets ordered may be picked up at the Chinese Chamber office located in Chinatown.For more information call 213-617-0396 or email firstname.lastname@example.org --Kristie Hang
Date Posted: 8/14/2009