Legendary action star Arnold Schwarzenegger has been cast in the Michael Fassbender-fronted feature expansion of popular short film Kung Fury. Written by, directed by, and starring Swedish filmmaker David Sandberg – for reference, not the same David Sandberg that’s set to direct Shazam for DC – the original Kung Fury short was released in 2015, and quickly became an online sensation. Set in 1980s Miami, Kung Fury did not hesitate to get crazy, incorporating time travel, dinosaurs, and Hitler, among other things.
Sandberg has been teasing a sequel to Kung Fury since 2016, but earlier this week, fans were pleasantly surprised by the news that Kung Fury will soon be heading to theaters, in the form of a feature-length adaptation of the original short. Making things even cooler is the fact that two-time Oscar-nominee Michael Fassbender has signed on to star in the Kung Fury feature, although his role is being kept under wraps for now.
Now, THR reports that Hollywood icon Arnold Schwarzenegger will also appear in Kung Fury, playing a role that seems like a clear tongue-in-cheek reference to the actor’s former career in politics. Arnold is set to portray the President of the United States in Kung Fury, a job he once publicly expressed interest in, but isn’t eligible to hold in reality due to him not being born in the U.S. It remains to be seen how exactly Arnold’s commander-in-chief will figure into Kung Fury’s plot, or how featured his role will be in the film.
In addition to Fassbender, Schwarzenegger also joins fellow 80s mainstay David Hasselhoff in the Kung Fury cast. Hasselhoff famously made a cameo appearance in Sandberg’s original short, and sang the theme song. As fun as the casting has been so far though, Kung Fury should perhaps be wary of trading too much on the nostalgia factor. A pure 80s tribute might be enough to sustain a short, but a successful feature needs to also feel free to do its own thing, and not rely too heavily on references and sly nods to the past. Nostalgia can be tons of fun, but a film also needs to bring its own memorable elements to the table if it hopes to earn a place alongside the projects it reveres.
On the other hand, a film like Kung Fury should never take itself too seriously, so a certain amount of “hey, remember when” gags are definitely both expected and encouraged. It’s a delicate balance that must be struck if Kung Fury is to win over anyone not already enamored with Sandberg’s silly short. For both his sake and the fans, here’s hoping Sandberg’s transition over from shorts to feature films goes as smoothly as the transition of that other David Sandberg has gone.
Kung Fury’s feature-length expansion has yet to be assigned a release date.
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