Neil Gaiman has signed on as screenwriter for Monkey King
Producer Zhang Jizhong will collaborate with Neil Gaiman for the movie Monkey King
by Grace Li
Date Published: 03/15/2011
Neil Gaiman and Zhang Jizhong. Photo courtesy of Hollywoodreporter.com
Zhang Jizhong, the producer of upcoming Chinese film Monkey King (美猴王), has hired a screenwriter for the film: Neil Gaiman, an award-winning English fantasy/sci-fi writer who has written sceenplays (Beowulf), novels (Coraline, Stardust), and comic books (The Sandman series). Gaiman had encountered writer's block while writing his own novel version of the Monkey King story, when Zhang asked him to write the movie.
The story of Monkey King is based on China's novel Journey to the West (西游记) and follows a Buddhist monk's pilgrimage from China to India with his three disciples. Jet Li recently played the Monkey King in 2008's Forbidden Kingdom, co-starring Jackie Chan. With a budget of over 300 million dollars, this new version of Monkey King will be turned into a 3D trilogy. Zhang is also developing a television series, an online game, and a theme park based on Journey to the West.
Zhang Jizhong and Gaiman were originally introduced to each other by James Cameron, who turned down the role as director due to the upcoming production of Avatar's sequel. However, Cameron agreed to help Zhang with the 3D effects and the story. Zhang is still seeking a director and cast in Hollywood. Rumor has it that they are courting Guillermo Del Toro, but no decisions have been announced.