New Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan

November 29, 1990|By Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD -- Two venerable Asian movie detectives, Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan, are being revived, possibly to become lucrative series characters in the profitable mold of James Bond.

Producers Gene Kirkwood and John Hyde are developing "The Adventures of Charlie Chan" for Warner Bros., inspired by the detective created by fiction writer Earl Derr Biggers, the subject of some 20 films, most shot in the '30s and early '40s. A series of Caucasian actors portrayed Chan, who spouted pseudo-Chinese philosophy while solving mysteries with his subservient "No. 1 son."

Kirkwood was asked how he'll deal with issues of ethnic stereotyping and casting that have been raised in recent years regarding the Chan characters.

"One, we have David Mamet, who is a brilliant writer and director," Kirkwood says. "And second, we'll deal with them as Chinese people, not Americans playing Chinese as a joke. It won't be comedy."

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