TV-to-Movie: Bill Paxton in Talks to Direct Kung Fu; Martin Campbell Eyeing The Fall Guy
11.03.11 by BJSprecher
Like many of you, we occassionally find ourselves feeling a bit cynical about the derth of TV-to-movie adaptations streaming out of Hollywood studios today, especially when the series are so often ones that are near-and-dear to our hearts. But, for every hot, stinky mess that is Wild Wild West or The Avengers — the 1998 movie where Sean Connery dressed in a bear suit and plotted to steal the weather, not the Marvel superhero movie directed by Joss Whedon that is currently in post-production — there's a fresh and fantastic tour de force like The Fugitive or The Untouchables, which is why we think it best to reserve judgment until the final product is in theaters. That being said, get ready for two more classic TV series to gain new life as big screen movie properties...
According to Deadline, Bill Paxton is currently "in talks to direct" a movie adaptation of Kung Fu, the '70s action-adventure series that starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a peace-craving Shaolin monk who flees China and heads to America to find his roots and solve problems...with Kung Fu! Deadline also reported that Martin Campbell is "in early discussions" to direct a movie version of the '80s action-adventure series The Fall Guy about a stuntman (Lee Majors) who earns a little money on the side as a bounty hunter.
Kung Fu originally aired on ABC starting on October 14, 1972, and ran for three seasons. The series primarily followed Caine as he fled from his native China to the western United States to find his long-lost half-brother, Danny Caine, but it also made extensive use of flashback sequences that showed young Caine (Keith Carradine) learning the tao of Kung Fu from his Shaolin masters.
Though Ed Spielman is credited with creating the Kung Fu TV series, Linda Lee Caldwell asserts that her late husband, superstar actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, actually created the concept that became Kung Fu with the intention of starring in the series himself, but that the idea was stolen from him. This telling of the origin of the series appears in the 1993 movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, which is based on a book by Caldwell. There is evidence to support Caldwell's claim stemming from a 1971 interview in which Lee discusses the idea of a series featuring a martial artist in a Western setting, but no formal accreditation has even been given to him. Ironically, Lee's son, Brandon Lee (The Crow), played Caine's (Carradine) son in Kung Fu: The Movie in 1986.
The current Kung Fu movie has been in development since 2006. At that time, Albert and Allen Hughes were attached to direct, with Cory Goodman (Priest) performing re-writes on a script by series writer Howard Friedlander. The project eventually fell apart and lay relatively dormant until now. Deadline makes no mention of the Goodman/Friedlander script, instead reporting that John McLaughlin will pen the script.
The Fall Guy originally aired on ABC on November 4, 1981, and ran for five seasons. The series was created by Glen A. Larson (Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I.) and followed stuntman-by-day, bounty hunter-by-night Colt Seavers (Majors) from Hollywood studio lots to seedy back alleys as he tried to make a buck and still come out in one piece.
The adaptation was first announced earlier this year, with producer
Walter Parkes (The Burning Plains) setting up the movie at DreamWorks; however, Deadline reported that the DreamWorks connection is unclear at this time. Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, who most recently collaborated together on the scripts for Thor and X-Men: First Class, will write the script for the adaptation.