Stephen Chow tackles Dragon Ball: the movie

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am

Homegrown comedy king Stephen Chow Sing-chi is to produce a movie adaptation of the popular Japanese manga Dragon Ball.

The film will be made by Twentieth Century Fox and is already being slated as next year's summer blockbuster. Chow, who directed Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, is a fan of Dragon Ball. He has drawn on elements of the comic in his work, using the lead character Son Goku's signature 'Kamehameha' attack move in his film Flirting Scholar.

Ngai Tat-sum, a spokesman for Chow's company Star Overseas, said Fox approached Chow two years ago about directing Dragon Ball, but Chow preferred to direct films of his own stories. Fox then offered Chow the job of producer.

The movie will star Justin Chatwin, who played Tom Cruise's son in War of the Worlds, as Goku and James Marsters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Goku's rival Piccolo. The rest of the cast is yet to be finalised.

The film will be directed by James Wong, an executive producer and writer for The X-Files and the co-writer and director of horror flicks Final Destination and Final Destination 3.

Mr Ngai quoted Chow as saying he hoped the film would have a predominately Asian cast and thought Edison Chen Koon-hei would be a good choice to play one of the popular characters, Trunks.

Dragon Ball the manga was created by Japanese artist Akira Toriyama. Loosely based on the Chinese literature classic Journey to the West, it follows the journey of Son Goku, a boy of the alien Saiyan race who has extraordinary kung fu powers, on his quest to find seven magical balls.

The comic was launched in 1984 and later made into an animated television series which aired in Hong Kong. The manga series ended in 1995 after 42 volumes.

Chow's move and the choice of an American actor to play Goku drew fierce criticism from local fans.

'Shame on Stephen Chow,' exclaimed office worker To Wan-wai, 29, who grew up watching the cartoon series.

'If he wants to become a Hollywood producer that's one thing, but that doesn't mean that he can kill the fantasy of millions of fans around the world.'

Another fan, Alan Leung Ming-chek, said 'having a Caucasian playing Goku is just not right'.