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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

John Woo’s Asian America


Woo Vogue

“For a long time I’ve wanted to make a film about the building of the railroad in the United States — it would be about the Chinese and the Irish, who built the railroads, their conflicts and how they learned to become friends.”

– John Woo in Out of the Shadows

The unnamed movie in the above quotation has been alternatively titled Land of Destiny and The Divide at different points in its production. What little about the film that I can glean from the internet suggests that this would have been Woo’s next film after Windtalkers before it eventually descended into development hell as Woo decided to take on other projects and more sizeable paychecks.

In as recent as this interview with Time Magazine, Woo says that he would still work with Chow Yun-Fat, even after the debacle that resulted from Chow’s casting in Red Cliff, and cited this in-development film as evidence of their continued friendship.

As far as I can tell, the setting will be California and involve the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Chow Yun-Fat would play the Chinese protagonist, while the part of the Irish worker was initially rumored to be played by Nicolas Cage, although Hugh Jackman’s name has been mentioned as well.

Here’s hoping Woo is able to get his act together and make this movie. It’d be great to see a film that explored Chinese/white relations during this critical time period in American history, especially if it could also deliver a rollicking “Eastern Western” at the same time.*


*Once I finish my dissertation, I’ve got my eye on doing something with this very interesting subgenre of the Western; I aim to tackle films ranging from American stuff in the Shanghai Noon category to those ever-fascinating international re-imaginings of the Western, more in the vein of The Good, The Bad, The Weird and Sukiyaki Western Django. Now if only somebody would steal Frank Chin’s “The Lone Ranger was Chinese” idea and do something really cool with it. Hmm, maybe I should get on that myself…


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