King Of Kung Fu Presents: The Interview With Monkey King Producer Michael Wehrhahn kingofkungfu July 15, 2013 Features, Interviews www.michaelwehrhahn.com www.globalstarproductions.com Michael Wehrhahn is the producer of the much anticipated Donnie yen movie “The Monkey King(大鬧天宮)”, where he has spent 4 years working on this to make it a great hit with not only Donnie Yen fans, but Monkey King fans all around the world. Donnie Yen is a Kung Fu legend and has been making great movies for a long time, but since Sha Po lang i feel Yen has stepped up 5 gears and made some incredible movies and i have no doubts that The Monkey King will be another smash hit. The Monkey King also stars many other great stars which include Chow Yun-fat, Aaron Kwok, Joe Chen, Kelly Chen and Louis Fan, a real top star cast. In the novel, SunWukong (The Monkey King), is a monkey born from a stone who gathers supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After going against heaven and being captured under a mountain he later goes with the monk Xuanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India. But in the first movie of the three scheduled, it shows the birth of SunWukong and how he was born and taught to use his special abilities during a time good and evil were at war on a distant Earth. New technology in recent years like 3D should really bring out the characters in The Monkey King and capture the essence of the movie for the audience to experience the best Monkey King project to date. There has always been a big following of this character with many comics, TV series, movies, stage plays, manga cartoons, games which shows the power of The Monkey King and how highly regarded he is to audiences all over the world. The movie has everything, a superb cast and crew, a world wide fan base which will support the movie and i have every faith this will live up to the hype that people have been talking about for a long time. Not only will this be a hit with Asian audiences, but a hit around the world and i am very excited that this is coming as a trilogy. This will deliver for audiences on the big screen, so when this is released, be sure to head down to your local cinema, grab your 3D glasses and sit back and enjoy the ride. Background Information Born in Northern New Jersey, Michael was introduced to the spotlight by his parents, highly regarded film archivists for networks such ABC ,NBC News and Republic Pictures. After several years of exposure to the bright lights of Hollywood, Michael began to act through his youth as a teen. By his late Teens Michael has appeared in over a dozen motion pictures a half dozen television shows and directed his own exercise series. His first major appearance in a feature film was alongside World Renown Rapper Fat Joe playing “Alex Hunter” in Blazin’, one of the more popular Hong Kong orientated action Martial Art American made films’ of all time hitting the Billboard charts for six consecutive weeks in a row. In CBS’s Now & Again, as “Busker” his portrayal of a strung out homeless street entertainer on the streets of New York marked a dramatic evolution in his career. Then, in 1998, he appeared in the Kasuri Production Pocket Full Of Dreams, which established him on the big screen in selected countries in foreign countries. After numerous extensive appearances on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’ Brien Show with Water World’s William Preston as an actor Michael proved he could perform his own stunts as well as act to entertain live audience around the world on national television for three seasons. In late 1999 he has undertaken his most ambitious project ever: playing Billy Stevens in The Image Factory’s What’s Eating You?, a comedy horror film filled with Science fiction and virtual reality sets of mass proportion. Other film projects include Treasure of the Seven Mummies, alongside Matt Schultz (Fast and the Furious), Billy Drago (The untouchables), Cerina Vincent (Cabin Fever) and Danny trejo (Once Upon a time In Mexico) The Secret War alongside KC Armstrong and Jim Florentine (Howard Stern Show). At this point i would like to turn your intentions to the interview with Michael Wehrhahn, i would also like to thank him greatly for agreeing to do this, very much appreciated. Also id like to say a big thanks to Robert Samuels for making this happen in the first place. I hope you guys enjoy the interview and take in what Michael has to say about the movie. 1.How did you first get involved with this movie and how did you feel before heading for the first day of shooting? In 2007 after some successful co productions I was looking for new projects I was packaging several other films with good friends of mine in Hong Kong and a good friend asked me if Im interested in doing The Monkey King as a co production for the US. Originally since they already started production before joining them Global Star was just doing US distribution but due to the extreme special effects we came aboard as a co-production partnership to do all post production in the film and then designed two other films to make it a trilogy. 2.How familiar was you with the Monkey King character prior to filming? I Always new The Monkey King (Sun WuKong) character because of my travels to China throughout the years. I actually attempted a pitch to the US studios in 2004 but they thought it was too risky and believed its only market was Art Houses. So if this was the market there was very little money to make the movie. 3.The Monkey King has such an all star cast, how did you find working with such amazing talent? All the talent was amazing. I was really impressed by how fast the actors got into the characters. In the US actors prepare and prepare and prepare. Then they prep a lot to stay in character. The Monkey King Crew cast was like a light switch becoming there characters in a matter of a second. Donnie Yen was out of this world. Donnie came directly from another set the first day of The Monkey King and already was conditioned to play Sun Wu Kong and was flipping around and acting like a Monkey in which in the US there’s weeks of training then conditioning to perform the character. Just amazing talent. 4.How do you think the take on the film will be different to the novel and did the technical challenges take over or away from the plot or script? Well first of all there’s three Movies. The first one we are releasing is the birth of SunWukong, how he was born and learned to use his special abilities during a time good and evil were at war on a distant Earth. This is not Journey to the West story of the Pilgrimage to India. The first Film is called “The Monkey King” The legend Begins. There are also two versions of this both have similar footage both from the traditional writings. We have added 1 or 2 characters to make it more marketable for a feature film. The First China Version is in Mandarin keeping authentic to Chinese culture and Chinese style of film making. The second version or what we call the international US version is in English with a special guest well known US Celebrity appearing with extra characters and more scenes and special effects to market it on a broader market that’s not is as aware as china of the story therefore introducing it to the US Markets. 5.How did you find working on such a big movie, a movie with such high expectations? I love film making and challenges. But this is far further than either. Producing this film on such a big budget and internationally working with different markets , politics, and finances. Very difficult but we have worked out the math and its going smoothly. We are working with over 4 dozen effects houses from around the world to create the CG in this film. We have an enormous amount of green screen in this movie as well as animated scenes. This is why its taking so long to complete. As for the High expectations we are doing the best we can and I’m a fan like everyone else. I put myself in the chair thinking like a fan to try to keep it as traditional and entertaining to as many people as possible. 6.During the movie, what are your real stand out moments and what was your favorite fight scene? Sun WuKong always fights . Hes a fighting machine. So far I have two favorites. When Sun WuKong fights the Jade Army showing off his talents and the second is when he battles the Rock Monsters on Fruits and Flowers. Both super cool. 7.The Monkey King books features lots of mythology, have you read most of the titles and if so which ones would you recommended our readers? I have been all over China as well as Thailand and Hong Kong researching The Monkey King stories. My favorites are the Chinese Classics Novels written during the Ming Dynasty based on the traditional folktales by (Wu Cheng’en). There’s a translated English version by by W.J.F Jenner on the market that’s tells the 100 chapters or so called Journey to the West. If your a comic book fan the comics done by TSAI CHIH CHUNG are very good and I personally own them as well. 8.In 10 years time, where would you like Global Star productions to be? Global Star Productions been in business many years now. Our Family Roots were where Hollywood started in Fort Lee NJ. In ten years time I would just like the company to be known for great entertainment even if we do only a few really good releases. I’m a big fan of Disney and just want to help entertain the world universally. Maybe eventually have offices in Hong Kong or China. 9.I would also like to ask you about the upcoming movie Little Monk, is there much you can tell us about this and what we can expect? The Little Monk is another movie we created as a co-production with China. Its also a trilogy and involves shooting in China as well as New York City. We have both very well know Hong Kong Actors in this as well as major A list US actors. This will be in two languages and the actors are doing the scenes in both to cut down on the dubbing in post. There’s lots of Kung Fu in this and lots of action. although I cant release too much in the actors or story I do want to say there is a very well know Kung Fu actor in this leaving out Donnie and Jackie. You can see artwork for this at http://littlemonkmovie.com 10. Finally is there anything you would like to say to the readers at Asian movie Pulse, your fans and fans of The Monkey King? I would like to tell the fans of The Monkey King that there will be a website called http://themonkeykingmovie.com in which will give you lots of info on the movies and whats going on. We also put together a Monkey King Social Network (http://monkeykingsocial.com ) (like Weibo and Facebook ) that will be a place to share your Monkey King Stories and share your comments , Monkey King Artwork and talk to other fans. A place to keep the stories alive as well as international . If you dislike something in part 1 please tell us on the social network as we will be taking feedback to better part 2. We created these worlds in which will have Monkey Games and actual movie scenes that you can personalize as yourself and have fun with it. The sites will be released in mid July. I ask that the fans keep this alive so we can have more for the future. I’m a fan we must do this together. Thanks Asian Movie Pulse for everything. Michael Wehrhahn Here is a bio about Global Star productions. GLOBAL STAR PRODUCTIONS/ About the Company short bio In 1992 Michael Wehrhahn , son of late Larry Wehrhrhan (Republic Pictures, Fort Lee Film Storage) adapted from a family news archive and research storage business, creating and launching a multi functional corporation to develop, produce, and distribute superior inspirational films in which was called GLOBAL STAR PRODUCTIONS. Global Star Productions known for its Hong Kong film making style techniques due its Asian roots of wire work and rigging with inferior action by its crew and well known action directors of the HKSA (Hong Kong Stuntmen Association) and superior teams from the best action in the business. With strong attachments from Asia, Global Star Productions was able to incorporate Asian film making style visuals with Hollywood based film making and influence through some of the best Hollywood cinematics, animatics and CGI studios in the business. Global Star Production’s was successful in co producing with several productions to combine both countries specialties and influences. In Late 1999 Global Star partnered up with SCREEN GEMS STUDIO’S in Wilmington North Carolina home of Dawsons Creek to assist in developmental projects, and maintain studio events alongside President Frank Capra and Vice President Gerrald Waller as well as assist in Those Hollywood Stunts and coordinate a stunt show for tourism on the studio lots. Some of Global Star’s productional credits are “A Melody Looking” starring music legend Leon Lai “7 Mummies” starring (fast and the furious) Matt Shultz and (Once Upon a Time in Mexico) Daniel Trejo “BLAZIN” # 15 on the Bill board charts starring Fat Joe , Cuban Link , Angie Martinez “Secret War” starring KC Armstrong (Howard Stern show) and Jim Florentine (Crank Yankers)“Lord of the City” starring Marcos Miranda “Whats Eating You” and “The 25th Anniversary of Battlestar Galactica” reunion in Universal City CA. Global Star’s in Production with several motion pictures today such as “The Monkey King” trilogy starring Donnie Yen and Chow Yun Fat, in development of numerous reality shows , cable shows and also in development of a new scifi epic feature with creator Richard Hatch called“Marsland2096” So i hope everyone is now very excited for the release of The Monkey King and have enjoyed the interview with Michael, now sit back, click play on the trailer and spread the word to what surely will be a huge hit. rachael I noticed there was nothing about Michael’s City of Light production he Directed in Beijing. This ran on TV not too long ago and was ausome. I hope they do a sequel. Karen M. Henton I agree with John this film’s gonna kick serious ass and I wanna be there with my 3D glasses on when it does. Thing is, any of you guys know WHERE it’s headed for release, like what world cities, and WHICH version since there’re gonna be two? I’ve read Professor Yu’s complete English translation and have seen many TV adaptations but I cannot handle Chinese so I would like to see the Mandarin version with English subs if possible. I can handle Japanese subs / dubbing as well but I have a feeling this won’t be here in Japan soon. Gonna check with some friends in Yokohama Chinatown over here, they’ve gotta be excited. takeo This is ausome article. I love the Monkey King . Seeing a martial artist produce a Martial artist is always good. Just because they get it it on both ends. I think Donnie and Michael are going to kick as………on this.