Sammo Hung is set to direct to the biopic of Seven Little Fortunes, the famous Peking Opera troupe of child entertainers — including Jackie Chan and Hung himself — who would go on to become the Hongkong action titans of the 1980s.
According to Variety, the film, also called Seven Little Fortunes, has Hung onboard as “chief director” while fellow Seven Little Fortunes alum Yuen Biao is serving as executive producer.
Tony Leung Ka-Fai is headlining the production said to cost around RMB50-100 million (S$10.5-S$20.9 mil), with shooting slated to begin in March 2022. The producers have rounded up a mainland Chinese cast to play the young version of the future action stars.
The Seven Little Fortunes were put together by Yu Jim-Yuen, the master of the China Drama Academy, a Peking Opera school in Hongkong in the 1960s. Later, the troupe expanded to as many as 70 students.
Besides Chan, Hung and Yuen, other famous members include Yuen Wah (Kung Fu Hustle), Yuen Qiu (Kung Fu Hustle), and action choreographers Corey Yuen (The Transporter) and Yuen Woo-Ping (The Matrix).
Once accepted as disciples, the students had to adopt a stage name in honour of their sifu — and prepare for a life of back-breaking hardship training under the tough task-master.
In his 1998 autobiography, I am Jackie Chan, Chan — who also went by Yuen Lau — wrote, “Master believed in just three things: discipline, hard work and order. Discipline came quickly and painfully, measured in strokes of the cane.
“Hard work was the rule of the day — a few minutes of stolen rest often meant an hour of extra practice for any unlucky students caught slacking off. And order: order was imposed by a strict line of command that placed Master at the top (never to be disobeyed or disrespected).”
Master Yu died in 1997 at the age of 92.
The Seven Little Fortunes story was previously told in 1988’s Painted Faces, starring Hung as Master Yu, and more recently, in one of the short films Hung directed in the 2021 anthology film Septet: The Story of Hong Kong.
Yuen Biao has said that Seven Little Fortunes — the winner of seven Golden Horse Awards, including Best Feature Film, Director and Original Screenplay —offers a different take on their lives under Master Yu.
The star of such ’80s classics as Project A and Righting Wrongs told Variety, “It’s not a remake of [Painted Faces]. It is a story about us, Seven Little Fortunes, our master and his relationship with us, told from our perspective.”
Photos: TPG News/Click Photos, IMDB