Street Fighter : The Movie
Questions. Answered.June 4th, 2008
Boom. Back again. The rain hasn’t let up here in Bangkok, but we’re battling through it. Some of us, like myself, metaphorically, and others, like Chris Klein’s Charlie Nash and Kristin Kreuk’s Chun Li, quite literally. Klein is showing off his skills with a 9MM daily, (not to mention his ability to be launched by insanely large explosions) while Kristin is doing things you just plain won’t believe. She’s had some experience with wire work and action on Smallville, but even she’s the first to admit she’s never done anything like this (few have). I cant count the number of baddies she’s dismantled thus far on all my fingers and toes. And there’s plenty more carnage on the way. Now, with that being said…
Last time I asked if you had questions, and boy, did you ever. You’ve made yourselves heard, and your responses have been fantastic. We appreciate them all, and I wish I could have answered each email personally. Luckily though, you guys seem to all be on the same page. It’s amazing really. Of all the hundreds and hundreds of emails I got, the same 3 questions kept coming through. And I’m going to answer them all, once and for all, right now. My instinct tells me that you aren’t initially going to like what I have to say. But amigos… just hear me out. OK, lets do this…
“Are Ken and Ryu appearing in this film?”
I’m gonna let a far more qualified man, our Producer Patrick Aiello take a crack at this one. Afterall, he had a hand in the decision:
PATRICK: “Justin, Ashok and Capcom got together and decided to make it more of an origin story for Chun Li. There are just way too many characters in the Street Fighter universe to cram them all into one film. We want to do each one the justice he/she deserves. So, in short, Ken and Ryu will not be appearing in this film. But, that doesn’t mean we wont see our red and white-clad heroes in potential sequels…”
So there ya have it fight fans. Your suspicions are confirmed. No Ken and Ryu. But before you get all misty-eyed, lets talk a bit about a little trilogy called X-Men. Nightcrawler, Pyro and Beast– all major characters in the X-Men universe– didn’t show up till the sequels, and Gambit, well he never showed up at all. And I think we can all agree that those movies kicked some major tail.
OK, Questions 2 and 3 I’m gonna smash together, because the answer to #2 relates directly to #3:
“What kind of tone is the film going to have? Are you going for camp, or realism?” and then…
“Are the characters going to be donning their original costumes from the video games?”
Alright. Regarding the tone, I’m pleased to say we are certainly not going for camp or cheese or any kind of laughs. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the making of this film, and, you’re gonna see a lot of those ON film as well. While we’re definitely not trying to make the next Citizen Kane, we are going for a somewhat more realistic, gritty, dramatic , and oh yes, action-packed direction than you might expect. In turn, I think we’re going to give you a much more satisfying film.
Now, as a result of this approach, it’d be silly to put Neal McDonough’s Bison in a bright red suit and captain’s hat with a pair of humongous shoulder pads. It works great in the video game, but in real life, it just wouldn’t look intimidating. The same can be said for Balrog. He’s an enforcer. A killer. A take-no-shit brawler to the core. And so, how scary would he be on screen if he beat people up with boxing gloves and a pair of blue short-shorts?
All that said, do not worry. We haven’t turned a blind eye on the game we all know and love. At some point, Chun Li will sport her trademark buns (the ones in her HAIR!) and of course, Vega’s still got the mask and claw, for starters.
Whew. OK. How was that? Satisfied? Or do you want more answers? If so, head on over joblo.com to check out my buddy James Thoo’s in-depth interview with Street Fighter’s scribe, Justin Marks.
And that concludes today’s broadcast presentation. Plenty more updates in the weeks and months to come. There’s a whole lot more work to be done on this flick, and thus, plenty more cool stuff to show you. Interviews, artwork, stills, videos, and of course, more of your questions… answered. So keep ‘em coming. Till next time, stay tuned fight fans. Adios from Bangkok.
– Aaron Horwitz
Swingin’ in the Rain.May 5th, 2008
Hey folks, Aaron here, back again and reporting for duty. We’re just about halfway through shooting, and things have been going swimmingly. Unfortunately, I mean that literally. We’re up to our eyeballs in water these days. See, the arrival of May brings the rainy season upon us in Bangkok, and when it rains out here…it friggin’ pours. If its not a mid-afternoon shower to temporarily halt filming, it’s the roaring thunder off in the distance muckin’ up our sound. Of course, that could just be the booming voice of Michael Clarke Duncan…
But, hey, like former Air Force Lt. Charlie Nash… we soldier on. We’re still shooting like crazy. This past week saw Chun Li and Vega goin’ toe to toe. They brought the claws out for this melee (one of them literally). And this very morning, Neal Mcdonough’s Bison unleashed a BRUTAL beat-down that was a little more one-sided. Ohhh yes my friends, there will be blood.
For this week’s exclusive first-look, feast your eyes on the beautiful Moon Bloodgood as Det. Maya Sunee. The character probably won’t sound familiar to you die-hard SF fans out there. And it shouldn’t. Maya’s new to the Street Fighter universe. She’s Bangkok Gangland Homicide. A no-nonsense, fast-talking, half-Thai cop who rocks a Ducati and a set of gold cuffs. Check her out below, hangin’ with her boys.
Now, before I sign off, one more bonus for the fans. As I mentioned last week, this blog was created for you guys. And to prove it, we’re opening it up to the lot of you. You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers. So hit me up. Send your emails to email@example.com, leave your name and the city you live in. I’ll answer a handful of them myself in the next installment, but a lucky few just might get an answer from a member of our crew, or even one of our illustrious cast. Serious questions only por favor. And even though I obviously haven’t received any yet, I can answer the most popular one right now…
The answer is no. Kristin will not marry you. Sorry guys.
Click below for a new storyboard of that previously mentioned Vega vs Chun Li fight. Till next time…
Week 2.April 19th, 2008
Hadouken! And we’re back. OK. Last time I left ya with a cliffhanger and this week we’ll get right to it. Rounding out our cast, portraying Gen, the sage kung-fu master and Chun Li’s mentor, will be none other than…Robin Shou! Sound familiar? It should. Robin already brought one of the most famous video game characters of all time to life, as Mortal Kombat’s Liu Kang. So it should come as no surprise that Street Fighter will be right up his alley. I’ve seen the man in full costume and makeup and I promise you this- the dude is damn near unrecognizable. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Behold an EXCLUSIVE first look at…Robin Shou as Gen!
I hope you enjoyed last week’s intro, cuz we’re about to hit the ground running with some more good bits on what you can expect from Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li. I want to say first, a resounding thank you to all the news sites for posting word of our little blog we got goin’ here. With your help, it spread across the net like wildfire. Some good feedback, and yeah, some negative. I follow it all. I hear ya. And that’s what I want to address. Actually, better yet, I’m gonna have our screenwriter, Justin Marks do it instead. Trust me, this dude is one of the good guys. An action buff and more importantly, a gamer to the core. After you read the following, you’ll see that he has your best interests at heart. Enjoy…
“A movie based on the Street Fighter game? But it doesn’t even have a plot!”
I’ve heard this line before. A few times. Whenever I talk to people who don’t know much about Street Fighter, it’s always the first thing they say.
But any true fan of Street Fighter knows about its rich world, its colorful palette of characters, and complicated web of varying interests and betrayals. No story? You’re just not paying attention.
The way I approached the writing of Street Fighter’s script was simple. Throw away everything and start with character. For just a moment, forget about the fights, forget about the costumes, forget about the flaming Hadoukens… go back to the essence of what the characters are about.
See, I think the Street Fighter world is epic. I think it’s got a huge story, and it’s busting at the seams.
But to start, it would be a HUGE mistake to say, “How many characters can we pack into this movie without regard to whether it makes sense?” Think of the X-Men franchise. Think of the way it started with a simple story of Wolverine trying to find a place in the world. And then it spawned an entire universe of amazing characters. If we didn’t keep this movie grounded, we would risk turning Street Fighter into a parody of itself. And to those of us who are fans of fighting franchises, the last thing we want is a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously.
It starts and ends with character. Everything else is just window dressing. Easter eggs (keep your eyes peeled…). Setups for a sequel. Moments that reference favorite moves from the game. They are all secondary to what a good movie should be about: the people in it.
And there are many great people in the STREET FIGHTER franchise. Ryu vs. Ken is the obvious one. Sagat and his quest for honor is another. It was just a question of picking one hero to start it all, one who’s never really gotten her moment in the spotlight…
Chun-Li. She comes from nothing. She’s an unlikely hero. And then, against all odds, this little girl who everyone wrote off eventually saves the day.
You don’t get any better than that. She’s a movie legend waiting to happen. And believe me, if this movie finds its audience the way I think it will, fans should brace themselves for many more Street Fighter movies. This isn’t just another video game adaptation. This is the beginning of something we’ve never seen before.
Get ready for it. – Justin Marks
That do anything for ya? How ‘bout a little more dirt on the film from a man who knows a thing or two about a thing or two? I pulled up a chair next to Producer and Hyde Park Chairman Ashok Amritraj (Death Sentence, Walking Tall, Boondock Saints). Here’s some of what he had to say…
On why he chose to bring Street Fighter to the big screen: “Street Fighter has been such an iconic title over the years, but it actually started with my kids and I talking about it. I have two kids and they’re big video game fans. One day we were talking about games and Street Fighter, which is one of their favorites, was one of the names that came up. It just kind of developed from there. So I gotta say thanks to my kids!”
On Neal McDonough as Bison: “This is actually the 3rd film Neal and I have done together (Walking Tall, and the upcoming Traitor) and I just couldn’t think of anybody better to play Bison. He’s got the eyes, he’s got the look, and trust me, he’s going to scare the hell out of you.”
On Robin Shou as Gen: “I remember Robin from ‘the old days’- and he’s matured very well. He’s perfect for the role of Gen. He and Kristen will look great together as master and pupil.”
On the relationship between Andrzej Bartkowiak and Dion Lam: “Andrzej and Dion are like the yin and the yang, we’ve got these two units shooting full-time, one with all the acting and the other with all the action and then it all sort of melds together. Its beautiful, like a well choreographed action ballet. Dion is a total star, he’s brilliant.”
So there ya have it Fight fans. Another week, in the bag. Next week brings another set report and some more visual goodness to satisfy your thirst (including more new character photos). I’ve attached another one of Ted’s wicked storyboards below. And with that, I’m out with a sonic BOOM!
– Aaron Horwitz
Week 1? DONE.April 3rd, 2008
What up guys and gals– fanboys and gamers– welcome one and all to the OFFICIAL BLOG for STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI! Your new pal Aaron here, comin’ to ya live from location in Bangkok, Thailand where all the action (and believe me we’ve had plenty of it) has been goin’ down every day. Excuse the mess, we’re still under construction on the site, so bare with us por favor…
We’re one week in and that means it’s time for our First Official Set Report. Before I begin, let me fill you all in on how this is gonna play out. Basically, about once a week I’ll be flyin’ at ya with exclusive scoops, stories, cast & crew interviews, artwork, set photos, and a ton of other Street Fighter kickbacks that you’ll find nowhere else on the planet. Maybe even some sweet video footage. This first blog is gonna run a bit long, but hey, its an origin story, don’t they always? Ok. Lets do this…
I’m gonna start with a quick rundown of our uber-cool cast for those not already in the know (c’mon you two, get with the program):
Michael Clarke Duncan
Pei Pei Cheng
The man with the task of directing this unruly pack is Andrzej Bartkowiak, a guy who’s not exactly a stranger to the action genre (Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 the Grave). He’s gone ahead and hired a man by the name of Dion Lam (who in turn went ahead and brought his bad-ass Hong Kong Martial Arts team) to choreograph our abundance of action, stunts and insane martial arts work. Who is this mysterious Mr. Lam you ask? He’s choreographed one or two battles in his day, most recently on a couple little obscure trilogies called The Matrix and Spiderman. So yeah, rest assured Street Fighter fans, you’re in good hands. Rounding out our talented crew are Production Designer Michael Hanan (Blow, The Punisher, Ronin) creatin’ some crazy-cool sets, Cinematographer Geoff Boyle (Mutant Chronicles, The Dark Country) with some badass visuals, and cuttin’ up the action will be editor Derek Brechin (Stargate, Breakdown, The Bourne Ultimatum)… Not bad, eh?
So by now you’re all clamoring to know, “Where’s the damn set report?!?” Stop salivating, here it comes…
So far in week one, Michael Clarke Duncan has been doing what he does best— smashing sh*t up and having a flippin’ blast doing it. It’s also worth mentioning that this man does ALL HIS OWN STUNTS. And its not cuz there’s a shortage of 6 foot 6 inch, 275+ pound African-Americans in Thailand! After watching the man in action these past few days, I can say with complete confidence that this was truly the role he was born to play. Meanwhile, Chun Li, Cantana and 400 Thai extras have gotten a little…’too close for comfort’ in a scene that’s sure to capture the um…affections of all you male Kristin Kreuk and Josie Ho fans out there. And Nash and Maya are hot on the trail– busy chasing leads and getting’ along like gangbusters. Literally.
Now those with a watchful eye might notice there’s one character I haven’t even discussed. One that’s not mentioned in the cast breakdown but one who’s surely an integral part of the film. And so now, for your first exclusive scoop, allow me to present you faithful readers with some brand spankin’ new casting you’re surely not aware of. The integral role of GEN will be played by none other than……tune in next week to find out! Sorry to go all ‘American Idol’ on your asses, but trust me, it’s worth the wait (and its NOT who you think). I’ve attached some badass storyboards from artist Ted Boonthanakit to whet your appetites…click it!
Thanks for tuning in loyal SF fans. Stay tuned and check in soon…I’ll be back.
– Aaron Horwitz