EXCLUSIVE: More than two decades after Jean-Claude Van Damme split-kicked his way onto the scene, the legacy of the Muscles from Brussels is making a double impact on Hollywood’s action game. Radar Pictures (The Last Samurai, Riddick) has a new vision for Van Damme’s 1989 martial arts actioner Kickboxer, one of two Van Damme reboots in the works around town. The original Bangkok-set pic from Kings Road Entertainment starred Van Damme as Westerner Kurt Sloane, a cornerman who trains in Muay Thai to avenge his brother’s crippling at the hands of a brutal Thai kickboxing champ. Kickboxer arrived a year after Van Damme’s breakthrough in Bloodsport sparking fan debate for decades over which pic is the better JCVD vehicle. (For its money Kickboxer boasted a memorable baddie in Tong Po, the villain who popped up in two of four subsequent sequels.)
Now Radar Pictures aims to reboot the franchise with Hong Kong director Stephen Fung at the helm. Fung’s hot festival run at Venice and Toronto this year landed him representation with Paradigm after his Tai Chi Zero opened atop the Chinese box office. The actor-writer-director is also repped by Principato-Young and is a partner in Diversion Pictures with Hong Kong star Daniel Wu. Jim McGrath and Dimitri Logothetis (Air America) will pen the Kickboxer script, with Logothetis producing alongside Ted Field and Nick Celozzi. Mike Weber and Peter Meyer will exec produce. Casting is underway now eyeing a fall or possible early 2014 start.