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Thread: Wu Assassins

  1. #1
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    Wu Assassins

    Wu Assassins - Netflix Orders Martial Arts Crime Drama
    Posted by Assassin at June 28, 2018



    Netflix has ordered martial arts crime drama "Wu Assassins" from writer/producer John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Hell on Wheels, Falling Skies), SpoilerTV has learned.

    Described as a character driven crime drama with martial arts & supernatural overtones and set in San Francisco's mysterious Chinatown, this contemporary series tells the story of Kai Jin, a young chef chosen to be the Wu Assassin, a "heroic killer” who must not only save the world from the powerful & dangerous Wu, but also navigate the morality of his newfound calling while hiding his secret from those closest to him.

    Per Production Weekly, the show is set to begin production in August.

    Nomadic Pictures' Michael Frisley and Chad Oakes produce, along with Tony Kranz (Blood & Oil), Cameron Litvack (Quantico, Ugly Betty) and David Simkins (Grimm).
    A chef? Not a laundryman?

    Judgment withheld until a lead is announced.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    Woah...IKO!

    This changes everything.

    Netflix Orders Martial Arts Drama Series ‘Wu Assassins’ Starring Iko Uwais From Tony Krantz, John Wirth & Nomadic Pics
    by Nellie Andreeva • tip
    June 29, 2018 12:00pm


    REX/Shutterstock

    Netflix has given a 10-episode order to Wu Assassins, martial arts sci-fi crime drama series starring Iko Uwais (The Raid, Star Wars: The Force Awakens). It hails from Tony Krantz of Flame Ventures (24), John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Falling Skies) and Nomadic Pictures (Fargo, Hell on Wheels).

    Byron Mann (The Expanse) co-stars in the series, slated for an August 8 production start. Stephen Fung will direct the first two episodes, with Krantz expected to helm another. In addition to playing the lead, Uwais also will serve as producer, lead martial arts and fight choreographer and stunt coordinator.

    Written by Wirth, who also serves as showrunner, Wu Assassins, set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, is a martial arts crime series with supernatural elements. It stars Uwais as Kai Jin, who becomes the latest and last Wu Assassin, chosen to round up the powers of an ancient triad and restore balance once again. Mann plays Uncle Six.

    Wirth executive produces with Krantz and Nomadic Pictures’ Oakes and Frislev.

    Uwais is known for his roles in The Raid, The Raid 2 on which he also served as fight choreographer, and most recently Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He’s in post-production on Mile 22, on which he stars and serves as co-fight choreographer. He is repped by Gersh, Ricky Siahaan and Management 360.

    Wirth previously worked with Nomadic Pictures on Hell On Wheels where he served as an executive producer.

    Krantz also has Suburbs Famous (working title), a dramedy co-written and starring Nia Vardalos, in development at Bravo. He is repped by CAA, Echo Lake Entertainment, and attorney Bianca Levin.
    Gene Ching
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    The wake of SDCC2018

    Louis Tan! We connected last year during my Into the Badlands set visit.

    ‘Wu Assassins’: Katheryn Winnick, Lewis Tan, Tommy Flanagan & Tzi Ma Join Netflix Martial Arts Drama
    by Denise Petski
    July 20, 2018 9:30am


    Photos courtesy of Netflix

    Vikings star Katheryn Winnick, Lewis Tan (Into the Badlands), Sons of Anarchy alum Tommy Flanagan, and Tzi Ma (Meditation Park) are set as series regulars opposite Iko Uwais and Byron Mann in Netflix’s Wu Assassins, from Tony Krantz of Flame Ventures (24), John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Falling Skies) and Nomadic Pictures (Fargo, Hell on Wheels).

    Written by Wirth, who also serves as showrunner, Wu Assassins, set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, is a martial arts crime series with supernatural elements. It stars Uwais as Kai Jin, who becomes the latest and last Wu Assassin, chosen to round up the powers of an ancient triad and restore balance once again. Mann plays Uncle Six.

    Winnick will play Christine “C.G.” Gavin, an undercover cop caught in the middle of a gang war that’s breaking out in Chinatown. Tan will portray Lu Xin Lee, a suave, fierce intelligent leader who owns and operates his own custom garage a la West Coast Customs and runs a car theft ring for the Triad.

    Flanagan is Alec McCullough, an international crime boss with a mysterious interest in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Ma will portray Mr. Young, a kindly Chinatown grocer and a mentor to Kai.

    Wirth executive produces with Krantz and Nomadic Pictures’ Oakes and Frislev. Stephen Fung will direct the first two episodes, with Krantz expected to helm another. In addition to playing the lead, Uwais also will serve as producer, lead martial arts and fight choreographer and stunt coordinator.

    Winnick stars as Lagertha in History Channel’s Vikings, which is currently in its fifth season. On the film side, Winnick recently wrapped production on action-thriller Polar, alongside Mads Mikkelson, and Vanessa Hudgens, which will be released on Netflix. She’s repped by CAA, Alchemy Entertainment and attorney Jeffrey Bernstein.

    Tan can be seen as Gaius Cha in season 3 of AMC’s Into the Badlands and as Shatterstar in Deadpool 2. He previously guest-starred in Marvel’s Iron Fist for Netflix and can also be seen in crime thriller Den of Thieves with Gerard Butler. Tan is repped by Luber Roklin Entertainment and ICM Partners.

    Flanagan starred for seven seasons as Filip ‘Chips’ Telford opposite Charlie Hunnam in FX’s Sons of Anarchy. Known for his breakout performance in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, Flanagan currently can be seen in feature The Ballad of Lefty Brown and he recently appeared in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and thriller Killers Anonymous. Flanagan is repped by Gersh and Untitled Entertainment.

    Ma most recently played the male lead in feature Meditation Park, for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards. He also played General Shang in Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival. On TV, he has recurred in ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, AMC’s Hell on Wheels and HBO’s Veep, among others. Ma is repped by Echelon Talent Management and BRS/Gage.
    Gene Ching
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    Lawrence Kao and Celia Au

    I don't really know either of these actors. I did see Revenge of the Green Dragons, but I don't recall Au.

    I take it they're filming in Canada, not SF.

    ‘Wu Assassins’: Lawrence Kao And Celia Au Join Netflix Martial Arts Series
    by Dino-Ray Ramos
    October 17, 2018 1:29pm


    Erich Chen, MVan Photography

    EXCLUSIVE: Netflix’s forthcoming martial arts drama Wu Assassins has added Lawrence Kao (The Walking Dead) and Celia Au (Lodge 49) as series regulars.

    Wu Assassins blends martial arts, drama, and supernatural elements for a story that centers on Kai Jin (The Raid star Iko Uwais), a man who becomes the latest and last Wu Assassin chosen to round up the powers of an ancient triad and restore balance once again.

    Kao is set to play Tommy Wah, a drug addict in search of redemption as he is passed over by his parents in favor of his younger sister who runs the family business. Au will step into the role of Ying Ying, a quirky, young woman who is wise beyond her years and assists Kai Jin in his mission.

    The pair will join previously announced cast members Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), Lewis Tan (Into the Badlands), Sons of Anarchy alum Tommy Flanagan, Tzi Ma (Meditation Park), and Byron Mann (The Expanse).

    Wu Assassins comes from Tony Krantz of Flame Ventures (24), John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Falling Skies) and Nomadic Pictures (Fargo, Hell on Wheels). Wirth is the writer, executive producer and showrunner while the show’s star Uwais also serves as producer, lead martial arts, fight choreographer, and stunt coordinator.

    In addition to The Walking Dead, Kao credits include The Originals and Sleepy Hollow. He is also dancer who competed as a member of Kaba Modern in the first season of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew and is currently part of the dance crew Kinjaz, which competed on NBC’s World of Dance. He is repped by Ellis Talent Group and Chris Roe Management.

    Hong Kong-born American actress Au starred in Andrew Lau’s Revenge of the Green Dragons which was executive produced by Martin Scorsese. She also appeared in the Jemaine Clement comedy People, Places, Things and currently has a recurring role in AMC’s Lodge 49. She is repped by Brio Entertainment and Nicolosi and Co.
    Gene Ching
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    Summer Glau

    WU ASSASSINS
    Summer joins Netflix Sci-Fi drama Wu Assassins



    Summer’s new project has been revealed today. She will reunite with producer John Wirth, with whom she worked with in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and The Cape. In a short tweet, Wirth welcomed Summer on board of his new show Wu Assassins. The show is a martial arts drama set in San Francisco’s Chinatown starring Iko Uwais (The Raid, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Byron Mann (The Expanse) and centers around a wannabe chef who teams up with a homicide detective to unravel an ancient mystery and take down supernatural assassins.

    The series has received a 10-episode order from the streaming giant Netflix, but no release date has been set yet. Early 2019, we would expect. It's being written and executive produced by John Wirth, who is also acting as showrunner on the series. Chad Oakes, Mike Frislev and Tony Krantz will also serve as executive producers.

    Here's Wu Assassins official description on Netflix.

    The last in a line of Chosen Ones, a wannabe chef teams up with a homicide detective to unravel an ancient mystery and take down supernatural assassins. The show also stars Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), Lewis Tan (Into the Badlands), Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy), Tzi Ma (Meditation Park), Lawrence Kao (The Walking Dead), Celia Au (Revenge of the Green Dragons).

    There’s no information about Summer’s role yet but We have more information about Summer's role.
    Still waiting to hear a release date for this.
    Gene Ching
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    Li Jun Li

    ‘Wu Assassins’: Li Jun Li Cast In Netflix Martial Arts Series
    by Denise Petski
    January 15, 2019 1:43pm


    Courtesy of Nicolosi & Co. Talent Agency

    The Exorcist alumna Li Jun Li is set as a series regular on Netflix’s upcoming martial arts series Wu Assassins.

    Wu Assassins blends martial arts, drama, and supernatural elements for a story that centers on Kai Jin (Iko Uwais), a man who becomes the latest and last Wu Assassin chosen to round up the powers of an ancient triad and restore balance once again.

    Li will play Jenny Wah, who on the surface, is a confident young businesswoman with an MBA. Scratch the surface, the noisy wheels of ambition crank a darker nature, and the need to overcompensate.

    Li will join previously announced cast members Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), Lewis Tan (Into the Badlands), Sons of Anarchy alum Tommy Flanagan, Tzi Ma (Meditation Park), Byron Mann (The Expanse), Lawrence Kao (The Walking Dead) and Celia Au (Lodge 49).

    Wu Assassins comes from Tony Krantz of Flame Ventures (24), John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Falling Skies) and Nomadic Pictures (Fargo, Hell on Wheels). Wirth is the writer, executive producer and showrunner while the show’s star Uwais also serves as producer, lead martial arts, fight choreographer, and stunt coordinator.

    Li was most recently seen on the second season of The Exorcist in the series regular role of Rose. She previously recurred on Blindspot, Chicago P.D., Quantico and The Following. She also was a series regular on Fox’s Minority Report. Li is repped by Nicolosi & Co., Inc. and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
    So what if Netflix raised its prices? Gotta stay subscribed.
    Gene Ching
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    August 8th, 2019

    ‘Wu Assassins’ Season 1: Netflix Release Date, Cast, Plot & First Look
    by Kasey Moore @kasey__moore on July 8, 2019, 12:00 pm EST



    Wu Assassins is a brand new action series coming to Netflix in August 2019 Here’s your first look at the series, what you can expect and when you can begin watching on Netflix.

    Just a month out from its release, details are a little sketchy but we’ve managed to put together an everything you need to know based on what we do know.

    Here are the key details you need to know about Wu Assassin’s

    The series was picked up in June 2018

    Wu Assassins is classed as a martial arts action series

    The filming for the series took place between August 2018 and November 2018 in Vancouver

    Despite being filmed in Vancouver, the series takes place in San Fransisco’s Chinatown

    Season 1 of Wu Assassin’s is set to consist of 10 episodes

    Nomadic Pictures is one of the production companies behind the show producing Van Helsing for Syfy, The Order for Netflix and Fargo for FX

    What’s Wu Assassins about?

    The series will follow Kai Jin, an aspiring chef who works in Chinatown in San Francisco. Jin finds out he’s part of a great dynasty of warriors and learns he’s a Wu Assassin. He gets recruited into the order and it’s his task to round up the powers of an ancient triad.

    The key draw for this series, however, is going to be its fight sequences which will feature the iconic fighting style of Iko Uwais. He’s best known for his work in The Raid and has bought over his team to work on Wu Assassins.

    Who’s starring in Wu Assassins on Netflix?
    The series has attracted some big names in the TV space.

    The main draw (as we mentioned above) will be Iko Uwais, an Indonesian actor who has appeared in massive titles such as The Raid, Mile 22, Triple Threat and The Force Awakens. Notably, too, he’s involved in the series as a choreographer and a producer.

    Katheryn Winnick is a Candian actress who has appeared in many TV series most notably Bones and Vikings. More recently, she featured in the Netflix Original movie Polar.

    Among the other main cast members include Lewis Tan, Tommy Flanagan, Tzi Ma, Lawrence Kao, and Li Jun Li.


    Wu Assassin’s fan art poster from Reddit

    Speaking recently to the IMDb Show, it was confirmed that not only would Katheryn Winnick be starring in the show, she’ll also be taking the directors chair too. She gave a few insights as to what we can expect including the fact she’s “huge fan of Iko” referring to his performance in The Raid. Winnick referred to her “amazing experience” directing and added that “it’s a show that’s mostly an Asian-American cast.”

    JuJu Chan in an interview said the show was “full-on action” adding her role was “kick-ass bodyguard assassin role”. She also first revealed the August 2019 release date.


    We’ve also seen some glimpses of the fight choreography you can expect throughout the series too. You can expect epic fight scenes throughout which is ultimately one of the key components of this show.

    When will Season 1 of Wu Assassin’s be on Netflix?

    Thanks to a post from Tommy Flanagan who has a featuring role in the show, he confirmed that we’ll be getting season 1 of Wu Assassins on Netflix on August 8th, 2019.

    tommyflanaganofficial
    Verified




    11,240 likes
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    tommyflanaganofficial
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    The journey begins! @iko.uwais @katherynwinnick @byronmann1 @iamlawrencekao #WuAssassins #WuFamily @netflix 8.8.19 @Netflix Send your WuAssasins fan art. Winner gets tap dancing lessons from @lewistanofficial @lijunli @jujuchanhk @wirthwhiletv @jenniferkaminskico amazing stunt team @dan_rizzuto @kimanikimani costume @fks_designs ♥️
    thesamtan

    Los Angeles, California




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    thesamtan
    Incredibly proud and excited for the Netflix Series #wuassassins w/ my bro @lewistanofficial !! ����������
    2d
    In the meantime, in the US, you’re able to watch a relatively similar show in the form of AMC’s Into the Badlands. That series is set further back in history but features a similar premise and its final season is expected to arrive on Netflix next year.

    Note: This article will be updated with additional information as and when it’s released by Netflix or the production studio.
    I'm not sure that chop logo at the top is an official logo. Don't ask me how I know...yet.
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    flipy flip things

    If Iko's stunt team is truly in charge, this will be awesome.

    Netflix's 'Wu Assassins' is the perfect show for all supernatural martial arts-drama fans
    Described as a 'martial arts drama' set in modern-day San Francisco’s Chinatown, 'Wu Assassins' narrates the story of a young chef who discovers some pretty cool secrets that promise to take him on a journey to greatness and violence.
    By Mangala Dilip
    Updated On : 08:23 PST, Jul 14, 2019



    Netflix’s 'Wu Assassins' has been on our radar for a while now. Chinese mythology, martial arts, and supernatural crime? Where do we sign up? Helmed by showrunner John Wirth, who is also the brains behind 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' and 'Hell on Wheels', the Netflix series promises to be way different from anything we have seen on Netflix.

    Described as a "martial arts drama" set in modern-day San Francisco’s Chinatown, 'Wu Assassins' narrates the story of a young chef who discovers some pretty cool secrets that promise to take him on a journey to greatness and unfortunately, violence. The action-packed series will see him learning that he is a "Wu Assassin" who was chosen to tread a great and violent journey that will culminate in him rounding up the powers of an ancient triad

    Benson sisters Julie and Shawna, who are writers on the Netflix show, revealed that Iko Uwais, the Indonesian actor who plays the protagonist Kai Jin, brought in his stunt team, and choreographed all the fight sequences.

    "You have no idea. We would watch and be like maybe we just shouldn’t write anything and just let you do your [flipy flip things]," they told SYFY Wire during an interview.



    Barring the “two white faces” on the show, the cast is filled with Asian or Asian-American actors, they reveal, adding how it was one of the most diverse shows they have ever been a part of. One of the said white faces is that of Scottish actor Tommy Flanagan, who is possibly best known for his role as Filip "Chibs" Telford on FX’s ‘Sons of Anarchy.’

    Flanagan’s Alec McCollough is described as "an international crime boss with a mysterious interest in San Francisco’s Chinatown." The actor, during his 2019 Toronto ComiCon Q&A panel also accidentally let it slip that we first meet his character in the highlands of Scotland and that he is 500 years old.

    With an incredible cast, spectacular stunts and intriguing plot, 'Wu Assassins' is proving to be one of the most anticipated Netflix projects, and we can’t wait for an official premiere date to be assigned. However, we have been tipped off that we can expect an August release.



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  9. #9
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    Wu Assassins | Official Trailer | Netflix

    Gene Ching
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    lesbians too

    Netflix's Kung-Fu Series Wu Assassins Features a Same-Gender Romance


    Sci-fi fight scenes and gay love? Sign us up!

    BY TAYLOR HENDERSON @CORNBREADSAYS
    JULY 25 2019 3:16 PM EDT

    Kung Fu meets sci-fi meets Asian street food meets lesbian love in Netflix's newest show Wu Assassins!



    The series "follows Kai Jin (Iko Uwais), a young Chinatown chef in present-day San Francisco as he becomes entangled with the Chinese Triad’s pursuit of deadly ancient powers known as the "Wu Xing." After an encounter with a mystical spirit, Kai reluctantly becomes the Wu Assassin (Mark Dacascos), using his enhanced martial arts skills to recover supernatural powers from five modern-day criminals threatening to use them to destroy the world."

    One of those five criminals just so happens to be Kai Jin's own father...

    Not only is that description insanely badass, but at 1:15 in the trailer, two of the leading ladies lean in for a steamy kiss! Looks like Christine (Katheryn Winnick) is getting a same-gender romance!

    You know we'll be watching!

    Wu Assassins premieres August 8 on Netflix. Watch the trailer below!

    I already want the Kungfoodie T-shirt Iko is wearing.
    Gene Ching
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    I have seen the first three eps.

    Netflix sent me screeners. Y'all are going to want save your weekend to binge this. It's got the best fight choreography that I've seen on TV. Iko and the rest of the cast totally deliver. Mark my words - if you like good fight choreo (and we know you do because you're here) - you're gonna love this show too.

    I can't wait to watch the rest of it.

    Martial arts star JuJu Chan on role in Netflix’s all-Asian Wu Assassins
    Chan plays the femme-fatale bodyguard of a triad boss, a role she considers unique given most ‘top enforcer’ characters in films are men
    The actress, who has previously acted alongside Donnie Yen and Max Zhang, always does her own stunts and even helps choreograph set pieces
    Ben Sin
    Published: 5:00am, 4 Aug, 2019


    Martial arts actress JuJu Chan, who plays a female bodyguard in upcoming Netflix series Wu Assassins, at Eliment Fitlax in Causeway Bay. Photo: Jonathan Wong

    There’s a bit of an Asian-American movement happening in Hollywood right now.
    The breakout success of Crazy Rich Asians has led to more Asian-American representation on US screens big and small, including the critically acclaimed family dramedy The Farewell; the much-buzzed-about Always Be My Maybe; and beginning next week on Netflix, Wu Assassins, a contemporary crime drama that combines martial arts and supernatural elements.
    The show stars an all-Asian cast headlined by Indonesian actor Iko Uwais of The Raid fame, and includes Hong Kong-born JuJu Chan Yuk-wan, whose role was specifically crafted for her.
    “I initially met the crew to talk about [another] role,” recalls Chan, 30, who split her childhood between Hong Kong and the US. “But after realising my martial arts background and ability to do my own stunts, they wrote an entirely new role for me.”


    Chan grew up watching Hong Kong kung fu movies with her father. Photo: Jonathan Wong

    That role is Zan, the femme fatale bodyguard of the show’s main antagonist, a triad boss played by another Hong Kong-American actor, Byron Mann.
    “Usually, the top enforcer of the triad boss in movies have traditionally been men,” Chan says. “So I found the role of this tough woman protecting the big boss as very unique.”
    It is hardly a stretch for Chan to portray a tough woman. Before she starred alongside Donnie Yen Ji-dan in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel Sword of Destiny (2016), and fought Max Zhang Jin in this year’s Hong Kong actioner Invincible Dragon , she represented Hong Kong in the 2013 Taekwondo World Championship in Bulgaria, and also competed professionally as a Thai boxer.



    Chan grew up watching Hong Kong kung fu movies with her father. She would get so into the movies that she would re-enact the moves at home. Seeing her passion, her parents sent her to learn martial arts at the age of 10. Today, she is proficient in karate, judo, wing chun and hung kuen.
    Following an education in San Francisco and New York, Chan returned to Hong Kong to pursue an entertainment career in 2009.
    Though she has always kept herself employed – in addition to the acting gigs and the competitive fighting, Chan also modelled, appeared on reality television shows, sang, and released a book – it really wasn’t until landing the part of Silver Dart Shi in Sword of Destiny that her career properly took off.


    Chan as bodyguard Zan in Wu Assassins. Photo: Netflix

    In a post-Crazy Rich Asians Hollywood that’s more open to Asian-led projects and casting more Asian parts, Chan’s career has picked up too. She says she has had more auditions and job offers this year than ever before.
    Almost as soon as she finished filming all 10 episodes of Wu Assassins in Vancouver, she jetted off to Cyprus to shoot Jiu Jitsu, another martial arts movie with Nicholas Cage and Thai actor Tony Jaa. Like Wu Assassins, Jiu Jitsu takes a traditional martial arts genre and adds sci-fi elements, this one involving a group of jiu-jitsu masters who must defend earth from aliens.


    Chan in Wu Assassins. Photo: Netflix
    Chan has long multitasked on action movie shoots – not only does she do all her own stunts, she often helps choreograph set pieces – but she did even more than usual during the production of Jiu Jitsu.
    “On off days I went to take pre-wedding photos, because Cyprus is so beautiful,” she says.
    … I want to build my reputation as the action girl, the one who can act and fight on screen and do all her own stunts
    JuJu Chan
    Chan is scheduled to marry her partner – also a martial artist based in Hong Kong – this October, with plans to start a family next year.
    She says she is hoping to time the pregnancy to not overlap with projects too much, which may include the second season of Wu Assassins if season one proves popular.
    “I think the modern-day women should be able to do both – have a family and a career,” she says. “Besides, I can still act and do action up to the first three months of pregnancy anyway.”


    Chan is proficient in karate, judo, wing chun and hung kuen. Photo: Jonathan Wong

    But she concedes she may have to do something she has avoided doing her whole career: use a stunt double.
    “If there are action scenes to be shot [later in my pregnancy] then I guess I will have to use a double,” she says with a sigh. “I hope not though, because I want to build my reputation as the action girl, the one who can act and fight on screen and do all her own stunts.”

    Wu Assassins will start streaming on Netflix on August 8

    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Kicking down the door
    Gene Ching
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    Friends & Foes (feat. Snoop Dogg)



    This Kung Fu Music is the theme song for Wu Assassins.

    I suspect there will be a music video soon.
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    I fully endorse this show

    I've met Stephen Fung through Into the Badlands a few times.

    We'll have more coverage on this very soon, both online and in print. Stay tuned.

    ‘Wu Assassins’ Director Stephen Fung Talks Netflix's First Martial Arts Original Series
    AUGUST 07, 2019 2:00AM by Karen Chu


    The action-fantasy show, which streams globally on Aug. 8, is headlined by 'The Raid's Iko Uwais and 'Vikings' star Katheryn Winnick.

    Veteran Hong Kong action director Stephen Fung promises that Wu Assassins, Netflix’s first martial arts focused original series, will immerse the audience in the “down-and-dirty” action style of silat, an Indonesian and Malay fight discipline made famous by cult action franchise The Raid.

    The prominence of silat marks a departure for Fung, who directed the first two episodes of Wu Assassins and executive produced the series, which streams globally on Aug. 8. He made his name with Hong Kong wuxia and tai chi style fight films such as House of Fury (2004) and the two-parter Tai Chi 0 and Tai Chi Hero (2012), and he was the executive producer, director and fight director of AMC’s Into the Badlands, which starred Daniel Wu.

    Headlined by Raid star Iko Uwais, Wu Assassins is set in present-day San Francisco and is rather nebulously described as a superhero origin and coming-of-age story with hints of fantasy and sci-fi. The story revolves around an aspiring chef, played by Uwais, and the discovery of his destiny as the sole surviving heir of the Wu Assassins bloodline.

    Canadian actress Katheryn Winnick (Vikings) co-stars with Uwais, who has been busy of late with roles in Mile 22, Stuber and a cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    Fung says the martial arts prowess of the two leads allowed him to take a new approach. “Iko is a famous action star in Southeast Asia and Katheryn is a black belt in Taekwondo, and their action styles are very different from the kind we’re used to in Hong Kong action cinema. It gave me a fresh perspective and pushed me to think out of the box,” Fung told The Hollywood Reporter.


    Stephen Fung on the set of Wu Assassins. | Courtesy of Stephen Fung

    Fung tried to capture the essence of the martial arts discipline Uwais practices, which gave rise to a visual style distinct from the type usually seen depicting Chinese martial arts. “For Chinese martial arts cinema, aesthetics come first. When there is a fight onscreen, we don’t pull real punches. It depends more on whether the choreography is visually pleasing, how the body language is expressed, with the help of wires, so it is more like a dance than be actually practical,” he said.

    “But with Iko’s martial arts discipline of silat, the fighting is more practical and there are a lot of joint locks. So filming Iko I could emphasize less on the aesthetics and use a more down-and-dirty handheld style, get a grainy feel and immerse the audience right in the middle of the action.”

    The “Wu” in the series title has echoes of the Shaw Brothers classic movies, but Fung says instead refers to the theory employed in diverse fields of Chinese thoughts including cosmology, Chinese medicine, military strategy and martial arts. “I was quite intrigued by the title at the beginning, and wondered whether ‘Wu’ was a surname, or was derived from Wuxia [martial heroes] or Wu-Tang [a martial arts sect]. But after reading the script I realized ‘Wu’ referred to ‘Wu Xing’, the Five Elements theory,” he elaborated.

    As the first Netflix martial arts original series, the streamer is focusing on building the mythology behind Wu Assassins. Fung joined the series with a track record in martial arts cinema, as well as previous experience in working for an American network, AMC, for Into the Badlands. “Both Netflix and AMC gave us a high degree of creative freedom, as they were tapping into an unknown territory, which is the martial arts genre. Since they are unfamiliar with tackling this genre, they trusted our abilities more. If they are making a series in the genre they are experienced in, they didn’t have to hire us and could just work with an entirely local creative team. So I think this made our job easier — because they were convinced of our expertise from the get-go. Both have been very hands-off.”

    While Hollywood is pushing the martial arts genre, with Wu Assassins and even a superhero martial artist with Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in Hong Kong and China the genre has been in decline in recent years, with the sole exception of the Ip Man franchise. Fung was not optimistic about the chance of a revival in the immediate future. “I don’t think the prospects of Hong Kong martial arts cinema are very promising, and that is mainly due to the lack of up-and-coming action stars. Even when I was prepping Tai Chi 0 and Tai Chi Hero, we tried to find new action actors, but at the end of the day, it depends on whether the audience accept the newcomers."

    He added: "After Donnie Yen, the frontrunner is Max Zhang, but he can’t star in each and every action film. Like the rise of Tony Jaa driving the action cinema in Thailand, the emergence of a new action star is key to a revival in Hong Kong action films. And for that, we have to wait.”

    Looking forward, Fung, a lifelong fan of Iron Man since the character was just 2-D and found only in comics, would love the chance to bring his brand of action direction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "I would fall over backwards to do it given such a chance,” Fung said, and he revealed he did have talks with Marvel for the second season of TV show Iron Fist, but was unable to work on it because of a scheduling conflict. “Not only the MCU, I’d love to be able to be involved in the Star Wars films. They were such a big part of my childhood.”
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  14. #14
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    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  15. #15
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    saw some earlier today, some decent gung fu goin on. stereotypes in effect , and nice bay area action goin on
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

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