Deadline is reporting that The Weinstein Company feels confident enough it has secured the theatrical rights to Wang Du Lu's Crane-Iron Pentalogy series of novels that it is readying production on a sequel to 2000's international smash hit, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
. That film, directed by Ang Lee and winner of four Oscars including Best Foreign Language Film, was the fourth in the series, and TWC is hoping to get its adaptation of book five, Silver Vase, Iron Knight
up and running as early as this May.
There is already a finished script, courtesy of The Forbidden Kingdom writer John Fusco, and the Weinsteins' are apparently courting Hong Kong director Ronny Yu to helm the sequel. Yu is currently in post-production on his upcoming Chinese-language epic, Saving General Yang, which will most likely make its debut at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in March, but there is no word yet whether any of Crouching Tiger's original cast will return. Silver Vase, Iron Knight does continue the story of Michelle Yeoh's character, Yu Shu Lien, and the actress will likely be keen to reprise her role after her career of-late has failed to capitalise on that film's success.
Fusco is quoted as describing the film thus: "This introduces a new generation of star-crossed lovers, and a new series of antagonists in a battle of good and evil. It has a Knights Errant quality. There is an alternate universe in the books, a martial forest that exists alongside the real world, full of wandering sword fighters, medicine men, defrocked priests, poets, sorcerers and Shaolin renegades." Fusco also stated that he expects veteran martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo Ping to return.
TWC's recent track record of acquiring and distributing Asian martial arts dramas has been less than exemplary, but it seems logical that they would pounce on the opportunity to finance, have final cut, and full distribution rights to a sequel to one of the most successful foreign language films of the last twenty years. There is no information at the moment, but we can expect Fusco's English-language screenplay will be back-translated into Mandarin for the production, as was the case with James Schamus' script for Crouching Tiger. What will be most interesting is to see if TWC is willing to enter into a co-production with a Chinese production company in the hope of securing the film wide distribution on the Mainland, or if they opt to take their chances with SARFT after going it alone.
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