Destin Daniel Cretton and Shang-Chi (Photo credit: Marvel Studios).
The Federal Government is handing Disney’s Marvel Studios $24 million to secure a big-budgeted superhero movie that will shoot at Fox Studios and on locations in Australia.
The film is understood to be Shang-Chi, based on a Marvel comics character known for his martial arts prowess and will be the first Marvel movie with an Asian lead.
Due to start shooting at the end of May, the production reportedly budgeted at nearly $300 million will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, whose breakout movie was 2013’s Short Term 12, which starred Brie Larson as a woman working in a group home for teenagers.
Cretton is now directing Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Captain Marvel) in Just Mercy, a Warner Bros. drama based on the memoir of Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson, who fights on behalf of the wrongly condemned and death-row prisoners trapped in the criminal justice system.
The Shang-Chi character was born in China to a Chinese father and a white American mother and first appeared in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition No. 15, created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.
He was trained as a martial artist assassin by his father, the infamous pulp villain Fu Manchu, but later became a hero after rebelling against his father.
Dave Callaham, the screenwriter of WB’s upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 directed by Patty Jenkins, is penning the script and will update the character for modern audiences. Marvel is reported to be planning a largely Asian-American and Asian cast, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Marvel president Kevin Feige is producing with Marvel’s Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Jonathan Schwartz executive producing.
Announcing the grant from the Location Incentive Program, a top-up to the 16.5 per cent Location Offset, Arts Minister Mitch Fifield said the production will spend more than $150 million in Australia, create 4,700 Australian jobs and use the services of about 1,200 local businesses.
“We are very excited to have Marvel return to Australia following the incredible success of Thor: Ragnarok,” Fifield said.
NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said he expects the NSW spend will be more than $100 million and will create up to 770 jobs for local screen professionals.
“This is a big-budget superhero film which the NSW government has secured for Sydney through the Made in NSW fund and is the first Marvel Studios movie to be based in NSW,” Harwin said.
“The film needs a large workforce of highly specialised special effects technicians and will also require sophisticated stunts, all of which NSW’s incredibly skilled and experienced screen industry can deliver.
“It will also provide opportunities to develop and train a diverse workforce under the leadership of some of the world’s best film professionals.”