Hong Kong comic filmmaker Stephen Chow will help Hollywood
studio Twentieth Century Fox produce a movie based on the popular
Japanese anime series Dragon Ball, Shanghai-based
Oriental Morning Post reported on Thursday.
Chinese-American director James Wong, whose credits include
Final Destination and the TV series The X Files,
will direct the movie, scheduled to start filming within the year.
Steven Chow's company has confirmed the story to be true.
War of the Worlds actor Justin Chatwin, who played the
son of Tom Cruise's character, will portray the lead character Son
Goku, a monkey-tailed warrior loosely inspired by the "Monkey King"
Sun Wukong in classical Chinese novel Journey to the
West. Chatwin is currently receiving strict physical training
under the guidance of a stunt company.
James Marsters, who had roles in Smallville,
Angel, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will play
the villain Piccolo in the movie.
"I have been a Dragon Ball fan for a long time,"
Stephen Chow, who presented many classics
including Kung Fu Hustle, told the Oriental
Morning Post, "The airy and unstrained story leaves much room
for creation." Chow also explained why he would not be directing
the film, "I only direct original movies that I have composed. This
is my principle."
Chow is recommending Zhang Yuqi, leading actress in his new
sci-fi film A Hope, to play the role of Goku's girlfriend
in the film.
Dragon Ball, created by Akiry Toriyama, is one of
Japan's most successful cartoons of all time. Between 1984 and
1995, Toriyama created 519 installments of the original manga for
the publisher Shueisha and its Weekly Shonen Jump
The manga's 42 compiled volumes have sold over 150 million
copies in Japan and over 300 million copies worldwide. Both the
manga and its anime adaptations (Dragon Ball and
Dragon Ball Z) have enjoyed success in Asia, Europe, North
America, and South America. The 17 animated movies in the franchise
have been viewed a record 49 million times in Japanese
Fox first acquired the live-action film rights to Dragon
Ball in 2002.
(CRI November 15, 2007)