Returning a lost fighting staff to the Monkey King of Chinese legend

Known for the screenplays for YOUNG GUNS, SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON and HIDALGO, screenwriter John Fusco first conceived of THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM as a bedtime story for his young son. Inspired by his life-long love of Chinese martial arts novels and kung fu cinema, Fusco gradually developed the adventures of a bullied American kid who time-travels back to mythical China and is charged with the quest of returning a lost fighting staff to the Monkey King of Chinese legend.

When Fusco shared the story with Silver on the Moroccan set of their film, HIDALGO, Silver responded immediately and hired Fusco to write a script. “I was deeply motivated to introduce such rich Chinese legends as the Monkey King to a global Western audience for the first time,” says Fusco. “By bringing back some of these classic Chinese ideas and characters, we hope to expose Chinese culture and history to a whole new audience. If we can get the younger generations and the Western moviegoers to develop an interest in exploring these classics further after watching the movie, we’ve achieved our goal.”

Some of Fusco’s characters are drawn from Taoist cosmology and are allegorical founders of certain kung fu systems; others are inspired by characters from the classic “Wu Xia” or swordplay novels, which, in turn, were inspired by a mix of history and martial arts lore; still others, like the White-Haired Demoness, come from vintage kung fu movies that were inspired by the Wu Xia novels.

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