Legendary Pictures has pursued and succeeded in putting an adaptation of the 1970’s “Kung Fu” television series into development in a deal with Universal. The past few years has seen the project announced and re-announced several times over. The last time was in 2011 with Bill Paxton (“The Greatest Game Ever Played”) set to direct from a script by John McLaughlin (“Black Swan,” “Hitchcock.”) Nothing came to fruition from this potential collaboration, but Legendary never let their goal to make a film based on the adventures of Kwai Chang Caine stray too far away. They have had a number of writers including Cory Goodman (“Priest”) and Rich Wilkes (“Iron Fist,” “xXx”) actively work on the project.
With the film under the Universal umbrella, producers Jon Jashni, Scott Mednick, Thomas Tull and Vincent Newman are searching for a director to restructure the project around before rewrites go into full swing. Also, rumor has it that the adaptation will not be set in the American Old West of the late 1800s, but will take place in the present day.
Here is the plot for the original television series which aired on ABC for three seasons from 1972-1975. The late actor David Carradine played the fugitive Shaolin priest Kwai Chang Caine.
Kwai Chang Caine is the orphaned son of an American man, Thomas Henry Caine, and a Chinese woman in mid-19th century China. After his maternal grandfather’s death he is accepted for training at a Shaolin Monastery, where he grows up to become a Shaolin priest and martial arts expert.
In the pilot episode Caine’s beloved mentor and elder, Master Po, is murdered by the Emperor’s nephew; outraged, Caine retaliated by killing the nephew. With a price on his head, Caine flees China to the western United States, where he seeks to find his family roots and, ultimately, his half-brother, Danny Caine.