Sony finds its new Karate Kid in American Born Chinese actor Ben Wang
American Born Chinese actor Ben Wang needs to start practicing his crane kicks because he’s the star of Sony’s new Karate Kid. Wang’s casting comes after a global search for the right actor. Wang beat thousands of competitors for the role, with 10,000 entries reported in 24 hours. The anticipated film finds Jackie Chan and Ralph Macchio reprising their roles from previous chapters of the Karate Kid franchise.
To say Wang’s audition was impressive would be an understatement. Not only did he display a profound understanding of the character, but he’s also fluent in Mandarin and trained in multiple martial arts forms. His arsenal of skills includes karate, wing chun/kung fu, gumdo, Kempo, and taekwondo training.
Details about the plot remain a mystery, though we hear Sony will move the story to the East Coast and focus on a teen from China who finds identity and strength in martial arts. During his journey of self-discovery, Wang’s character meets a disciplined martial arts master. With Chan and Macchio both appearing in the film, there’s a chance Wang’s character could train under two teachers.
Jonathan Entwistle (Vanity Fair, I Am Not Okay With This, Human Beings) directs Sony’s Karate Kid from a script by Rob Lieber (Peter Rabbit, The Goldbergs, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween). Sony plans to unleash Karate Kid in theaters on December 13, 2024.
Previously, industry insider Daniel Richtman printed a rumor about the plot for Sony’s Karate Kid, saying the film is “about a Chinese 16-year-old who studied at Jackie Chan’s [Kung Fu studio] in China. His family moves to Brooklyn. He falls for a girl whose dad is a 35-year-old washed-up boxer who runs a pizza place. The kid trains the girl’s dad for a comeback.”
That plot may sound better in execution than it does on paper. I can’t picture a Karate Kid film where Ben Wang’s character isn’t the focus and the person going through the growing pains of learning martial arts. Then again, the underdog element of Karate Kid has been done to death. Maybe Sony’s Karate Kid is going in a different direction. I have my doubts, but I’m not on the inside of anything here.
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