If you've been lucky enough to have seen the Indonesian films Merantau or the recently-released The Raid: Redemption, then not only do you know who Iko Uwais is, but you also know what he's capable of. Both martial arts movies were directed by Gareth Evans, and have helped turned Uwais into one of the biggest up-and- coming international stars - and that star is about to become just a little bigger.
Variety is reporting that Keanu Reeves has enlisted the services of Uwais for his forthcoming action/drama Man of Tai Chi. Not only will Reeves be starring in Man of Tai Chi, but this will also mark his directorial debut. Tiger Hu Chen (House of Fury) and Jeremy Marinas (The Hunger Games) are also on board for the project. Michael G. Cooney, a relative newcomer to the field will pen the film.
Check out a description of Man of Tai Chi:
Set in modern Beijing, story follows the spiritual journey of a young martial artist (Tiger Chen) whose skills present him with both exciting opportunities and painful choices.
Evans discovered Uwais in 2007 during a documentary he was filming, and two years later would allow Iko to showcase his gritty fighting style in Merantau. Two years after that, the two would team up again for The Raid: Redemption. The high-octane pace of The Raid is explosive, and features some of the greatest fighting scenes ever to grace the silver screen. If you've yet to see The Raid: Redemption (read our review), and consider yourself an action fan, then I suggest you do so ASAP. Despite a limited release in the U.S., The Raid has grossed more than $4 million dollars domestically.
Reeves' career has certainly come a long way since since playing Ted Logan in the 1989 Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. In 1999 Keanu starred as Neo in the ultra-popular Matrix, and the success of the film would allow two more Matrix films to be spawned (Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions). Reeves is currently working on the samurai film 47 Ronin, which tells the 18th century-set story centered on a band of samurai who set out to avenge the death of their master.
One can only hope that Reeves will recruit some of the choreographers he worked with on either the Matrix films or 47 Ronin.
For those wondering, the reports do say that one of the last scenes will indeed include a fight between Chen and Uwais - So, before you attempt to use your Keanu imitation and shout 'no way' - yes way, this is happening.
Man of Tai Chi will begin shooting soon in Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau, and is slated to hit theaters in 2013.