Wong Kar-Wai is the latest big screen filmmaker to direct a TV series for Amazon's digital streaming service. The critically-acclaimed writer, director, and producer will direct crime drama series The Tong Wars.
Since Amazon Studios launched in 2010, the company has recruited numerous high-profile actors and directors for its various projects, including Woody Allen, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Orlando Bloom. In 2017, the company became the first digital streaming service to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture with Manchester by the Sea. Its television programs have also earned much success with award-winning shows like Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Considering the continued success of its streaming service, Amazon is constantly developing more shows with big-name talent.
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Variety reports that Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai has signed on to direct The Tong Wars, a series based in 19th century San Francisco. The Tong Wars will explore the clashes between Chinese immigrants and Chinatown families. The show will span several years of organized crime, and war over prostitution and drugs. The show is one of five new projects confirmed by Amazon on Friday, with the others being a comedy starring Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph, two comedy pilots, and a comic book adaptation from Seth Rogen. One reason for the new push is due to Amazon's wish to create a hit show on the same level as HBO's Game of Thrones.
The Tong Wars was an extremely violent period inChinese-American history, a time in which organized crime families called 'tongs' in the Chinatown area of San Francisco engaged in feuds with each other over control of opium, prostitution, and gambling. Their activities resulted in countless deaths that severely hurt the Chinese-American community in San Francisco.
Wong is well-known for his visual style in his filmmaking, which relies on dramatic imagery to tell a story. The director has received a number of prestigious awards and nominations for his films 2046, In The Mood for Love, The Grandmaster, Happy Together, Ashes of Time, and Days of Being Wild. Wong also has a very diverse filmography, having directed extremely successful films in the genres of romance, action, comedy, and wuxia.
The Tong Wars is also the subject of another upcoming TV series. Warrior, created by Justin Lin and based off an idea from Bruce Lee, was recently picked up Cinemax and will focus on a martial arts prodigy working for one of Chinatown's most powerful tongs.
The Tong Wars will be written and executive produced by Paul Attanasio, the creator of the CBS series, Bull. No release date has been set.