I’ve not been much of a fan of Jackie Chan’s Hollywood work. The systems and procedures of big studio filmmaking seem to run counter to Chan’s more scaled down, rough-around-the-edges earlier work done in Hong Kong. Perhaps knowing that Hollywood enforced ways to make Chan’s death-defying stunt work that much less death defying is what a factor, but most of the projects that he found himself were just substandard in terms of scripting and direction as well. The lone standout to this, though, is his two on-screen collaborations with Owen Wilson – Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights. And now the pair will be reunited for a third film, this time being joined behind the camera by Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess.
The Hollywood Reporter is stating that Chan and Wilson are currently in talks to return to the Old West-set action/comedy franchise for a third installment which is titled Shanghai Dawn. Studio MGM has already locked down Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess to helm the project. The film will bring Chan’s Chon Wang, a former Imperial guard and Wilson’s fumbling outlaw Roy O’Bannon back together for the first time since 2003.
Hess is an interesting choice to say the least. His comedies certainly have a different tone than the previous two Shanghai films. Perhaps studio executives have already had a look at Hess’s upcoming Masterminds and liked what they saw there? It should be noted that Wilson appears in Masterminds and a possible recommendation from him could also be the reason that Hess now has this job.
When we first reported that MGM was looking to develop a third Shanghai film over a year ago, the studio did not have any writers yet attached. At the time, we found that worrying. Now we know that original writers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough have returned long enough to contribute Dawn‘s story, which Theodore Riley and Aaron Buchsbaum have fleshed out into a full script.