American Born Chinese fame Ben Wang to star in new Karate Kid film

Hollywood actor Ben Wang, who previously starred in the series American Born Chinese is going to be the new Karate Kid.

Wang landed the sought-after role after a worldwide search that saw thousands of young actors from around the globe vie for the title role in Sony’s new Karate Kid movie, which unites Jackie Chan and Ralph Macchio. Per studio insiders, Wang delivered a standout audition performance that demonstrated his deep connection to the character.

Wang joins a cast that includes Jackie Chan and Ralph Macchio, both of whom are reprising their roles from previous Karate Kid movies.

The actor, who is also fluent in Mandarin, is skilled in many forms of martial arts, including Karate, Wing Chun/Kung Fu, Gumdo, Kempo and Taekwondo.

Some of those skills were already showcased in American Born Chinese, the well-regarded adaptation of the acclaimed coming-of-age fantasy graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang that also starred Michelle Yeoh.  

The plot details are kept under wraps for the film, but the new instalment will bring the story to the East Coast and focus on a teen from China who finds strength and direction via martial arts and a tough but wise mentor (or maybe even two).

The original Karate Kid movie came out in 1984, starring Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, a kid from Brooklyn who moves to Southern California and learns self-defence from Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita). Three big-screen sequels followed — The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III, and The Next Karate Kid — and in 2010 Sony produced a modern reboot starring Jaden Smith and Chan. Recently, Macchio and several castmates have reprised their Karate Kid roles on the YouTube-turned-Netflix TV series Cobra Kai.

Directed by Jonathan Entwistle, who is known for The End of the F***ing World, the film is written by Rob Lieber and produced by Karen Rosenfelt. It is scheduled to hit theatres on December 13.