The American Movie Classics has announced it will produce six-hour long episodes of 'Badlands', a modern martial arts drama loosely based on the Chinese classic novel, 'Journey to the west'.
‘Journey to the West’ is one of the most beloved novels in Chinese literature. Dating back to the 16th Century, the classic tale of the Monkey King and the Pig has captivated Chinese audiences through numerous adaptations in movies, stage and TV.
File photo: Journey to the West
"Which is still the most beloved one, has been shown over 2000 times on Chinese tv shown every year several times. It’s really a classic. So there’s so many variations, it’s like adaptations of Shakespeare, for example, for modern times." said Dr. Stanley Rosen, Professor, University of Southern California.
And the latest adaptation of Journey to the West is going West, as U-S cable TV network, American Movie Classics announced it will produce six, one-hour episodes of "Badlands", a modern martial arts drama loosely based on the old Chinese fable.
The executive producers, who already have Pulp Fiction and Contagion on their list of film credits, hope the series will be ready late next year.
A political science professor who studies the entertain industry says AMC is looking to capitalize on the success of its other hit franchises like Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
"Yeah, so all these shows have been seen in China. And I think that’s why there’s some controversy on the Chinese Web right now, on the micro blogs, the Weibo, because some people are concerned. ’What’s Hollywood or America going to do with it? ’It’s going to Americanize it in some way and the characters will be unrecognizable.” said Dr. Stanley Rosen, Professor, University of Southern California.
Rosen, who’s also an authority on Chinese culture, says the AMC series could ultimately be a good thing for the cult classic and the country.
"Anything that gives the US some understanding of Chinese culture, particularly when it’s in English and they don’t’ have to read subtitles, I think is a positive. Maybe they’ll find this interesting enough to go back to the original and learn real story." said Dr. Stanley Rosen, Professor, University of Southern California.
But judging from social media, it’s going to take a lot more than masterful martial arts to convince a Chinese audience to embrace a new western twist on an treasured eastern tale.
Journey to the West
Journey to the West