Late last year, Marvel Studios revealed the fast-tracking of Shang-Chi as their first Asian-led tentpole franchise. Very soon, Destin Daniel Cretton boarded the project as director while word spread that Disney and Marvel wanted to craft the film in an authentic manner while pursuing Asian and Asian filmmakers. Variety reported this week that Marvel’s determined to only cast a lead “of Chinese ancestry [and] no other Asian ancestry accepted” and that that producers have launched an extensive search. That apparently bypasses the fan-driven campaign for the lead casting of Mike Moh, the actor who’s playing Bruce Lee in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, as the search continues. However, reports are suggesting that other details are solidifying, which should please everyone who’s looking forward to this movie.
Aquaman costume designer Kym Barrett (who also worked on The Matrix and The Amazing Spider-Man) has reportedly joined the production, according to Comic Book Resource and IMDb Pro. In addition, ComicBook.com relays another report about The Matrix director of photography Bill Pope signing on as Shang-Chi‘s cinematographer:
Development on Shang-Chi continues moving right along with the production reportedly hiring Bill Pope as its cinematographer. The hiring follows just a few short days after the film reportedly nabbed Aquaman costume designer Kym Barrett for the same role. Though Pope will reportedly serve as cinematographer on Shang-Chi, as per a report from DiscussingFilm, he’s best known for his work as director of photography on some major Hollywood blockbusters.
Pope’s relevant experience is extensive. He’s not only worked with the Wachowskis but also Edgar Wright, Sam Raimi, and Jon Favreau. Yet it’s the The Matrix/kung fu connection that really drops hints about what to expect from Shang-Chi‘s visuals. Of course, in the Marvel comics, Shang-Chi joined The Avengers after training in kung fu and eschewing the criminal network of his father, sorcerer Fu Manchu, who bred his son for the assassin life. He was recruited into the fold by Steve Rogers, and Tony Stark engineered gear to compliment Shang’s mastery of hand-to-hand combat. There’s every chance that we’ll hear more Shang-Chi details from Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige later this week from SDCC, maybe even a release date.