The 2012 Richard H. Dillon book HATCHET MEN is being turned into a feature film by The 33’s Michael Thomas and Australian writer Morgan Duncan, who will also both co-produce. Christine Holder of Zero Gravity is also set to produce alongside Mark Holder.
The Chinatown Tong wars were fought from the 1880s until finally ending in 1921. The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 caused the ultimate decline of the tongs. Falling Water’s Will Yun Lee is already attached to star in the film as Little Peet, a charismatic and ferocious leader in Chinatown at the time and his fifth-degree black belt in taekwondo will come into play in the film. Lee is also going to produce the project.
The title of the book, and film, comes from certain people involved in the Tong wars who utilized hatchets to strike down anyone who opposed their leaders.
Lee compares the project to the physicality of The Raid with the texture of Boardwalk Empire, saying: “I’ve always gravitated toward the rich, untold stories of Asians in America.”
There is another project about the Tong wars currently in development from director Justin Lin and the late Bruce Lee and his daughter, Shannon Lee. It’s a series titled Warrior that has been picked up by Cinemax.
Thomas has been writing in the industry since the 1980s, starting with Countryman (1982). He most recently wrote The 33 and has Offshore in development at Paramount. He’s repped by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.
Lee has a long-standing acting history: He had recurring roles in both True Blood and Hawaii Five-0 and can now be seen on the USA series Falling Water. On the big screen, he’s appeared in the Paul Feig comedy Spy, the X-Men film The Wolverine, and more. He’s repped by APA and Zero Gravity Management.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor
This news was first reported by Deadline.