Jonathan Entwistle, best known for his well-regarded and award-winning teen television dramas I’m Not Okay with This and The End of the F***ing World, is directing the untitled feature that the studio is positioning as the fusing and continuing the mythology of the original franchise.
A global search for an actor to play the erstwhile title character launched today, with Chan and Macchio kicking things off with an introductory video, seen below.
Rob Lieber, whose credits include Sony’s Peter Rabbit and Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, wrote the script. The plot line is hiding in the back of the dojo.
However, it is known that the latest iteration will bring the story to the East Coast and focus on a teen from China who finds strength and direction via martial arts and a tough but wise mentor.
Karen Rosenfelt is producing the feature, which Sony has penciled in for a Dec. 13, 2024, release date. A spring shoot is being eyed.
The Karate Kid launched in 1984, with the original movie being an unexpected hit. It starred Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, a Brooklyn kid who moves to California and finds himself an unlikely karate champion under the tutelage of Mr. Miyagi, an apartment handyman who is quite proficient in karate. Miyagi was played by the late Pat Morita, who earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination his work.
The movie spawned three sequels — Macchio appeared in two of them, while Hilary Swank took on the titular mantle in a 1994 outing — with the franchise seeing a resurgence in the past several years thanks to Cobra Kai. The series became a tornado kick hit for YouTube and Netflix, bringing back many of the original characters, including LaRusso, as it introduced a new generation of butt-kicking teens. Fans have dubbed these stories the Miyagi-verse after Morita’s character; Morita passed away in 2011.
Sony revived the title in 2010 with a remake that updated the story for more modern and global times, focusing on an American kid, played by Jaden Smith, who moves to Beijing and is mentored by a handyman/martial arts master played by Chan, already a beloved international star at that point. The movie turned out be another unexpected hit, grossing $359 million on a budget of $40 million, and scored positive reviews.
In addition to his Karate Kid work, Machhio made hearts flutter with his breakout role in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders. He also starred in 1992 comedy My Cousin Vinny, and more recently, HBO series The Deuce.
Chan, a multihyphenate who also directs and produces, became an action star in his native China with movies such as Drunken Master and franchises Police Story and Project A, where his acrobatic stuntwork dazzled audiences. After his American breakthrough in 1995 with Rumble in the Bronx, he went on to star in the Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon action comedies. He has played a key voice part in the Kung Fu Panda movies and most recently voiced Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. In 2016, Chan became the first Chinese actor to be honored with an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the film industry.
Chan is repped by CAA and Jessica Chen. Macchio is repped by Untitled Entertainment, Buchwald and Hansen Jacobson.
Entwistle is repped by CAA, Grandview and Jackoway Tyerman, while Leiber is repped by Verve, Fourth Wall Management and Sloane Offer.