UPDATE: Take a look at the Official Poster for Śakra below!
UPDATE: Contrary to previous reports, Steven Cheng is no longer directing Śakra as Donnie Yen himself will be helming the project. The last time Yen served behind-the-camera was for 2004’s Protégé de la Rose Noire, which he co-directed with Barbara Wong Chun-Chun.
Yen recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter and described the upcoming Wuxia epic as “China’s Shakespeare and Marvel”.
“Over the last 20 years, a lot of Wuxia characters on screen have become more and more fantasy and cartoon-ish. I wanted to stay away from that — I wanted to go back to the history and the roots. From the wardrobe to the hair and set design all the way to the action and stunts, I wanted to go back to the roots with some realism. And when it comes to the action, I wanted it to be classic Donnie Yen style, where there’s real martial arts going on — where you can feel the pain, power and substance of the fighting in that universe. The most challenging thing was how I would portray Qiao Feng, the character we are focusing on — because there have been multiple actors who have taken on this character and role over the years, so I needed to find a new and unique point of view on him. At the same time, I had to be very level-headed and really understand what the audience has always loved about Qiao Feng in the text. He’s probably one of Louis Cha’s most beloved characters, so I really had to understand the charm of this character and think deeply about how to capture that and blend my own persona with it. I really think this has been one of the biggest challenges of my career. Like I said, picking up Louis Cha isn’t like just doing another movie for me. It’s like you’re remaking Shakespeare. But I’m quite happy I’ve taken on the challenge, so far,” Yen told THR.
Yen added, “Wuxia is Chinese Marvel, except it has a lot more rich history and culture behind it. I mean, it goes back thousands of years.”
Martial arts legend Donnie Yen (Raging Fire) is set to star in Śakra, an adaptation of the classic wuxia novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Steve Cheng and produced by Wong Jing (Chasing the Dragon), the film will see Yen portray martial arts master Qiao Feng, one of the main character of the Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils universe. The character of Qiao Feng was last played by Felix Wong in the 1997 smash hit Hong Kong TVB series Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils.
The plan is for Śakra to be the beginning of a potential franchise with the book’s many sub-plots and compelling characters.
Yen will also serve as executive producer on the project with production scheduled to begin in July.
International sales are being handled by Plus Entertainment Limited with a release date set for Chinese New Year 2023.