Asian Blaxpoitation heroine that was inspiration for ‘Kill Bill’ protagonist revived for TV series

Cleopatra Wong, the badass Singaporean Interpol agent from the 70s Asian scene, is back.

The Southeast Asian action hero who was reportedly the inspiration for Uma Thurman’s character Beatrix “The Bride” Kiddo in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” films is being revived for an upcoming TV show set in the 21st century, according to Variety.

The character, played by Singaporean actor Marrie Lee (aka Doris Young) in a series of films in the late 1970s, was created by Filipino filmmaker Bobby Suarez. The name appears to be based on “Cleopatra Jones”, a 1973 American Blaxploitation film.

“They Call Her… Cleopatra Wong,” the low-budget 1978 classic that introduced the character, was digitally restored in 4K last year by the Asian Film Archive.

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Cleopatra Wong’s films have gained a cult following for distinctly combining elements of the spy genre with the Asian martial arts genre.

In an interview with The Straits Times in 2003, Tarantino said that “Cleopatra Wong was a gigantic inspiration” in some of his films.

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Independent studio The Ink Factory, which obtained the rights to the character, is co-producing the new series with Singapore-based Beach House Pictures.s.

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“With its heart and soul in Southeast Asia, the franchise brings a new action hero and her female companions to the screen in a way that will feel fresh, safe and authentic,” said Simon Cornwell and Stephen, co-founders of The Ink Factory. Cornwell in a statement.

Chinese American writer Tasha Huo (“Tomb Raider”) and British Thai writer Chris Cornwell (“A Discovery of Witches”) will share writing duties for the new project.

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A Cleopatra Wong series has been in the plans for Beach House Pictures since 2018. In an interview with The times of the strait that year, Jocelyn Little of Beach House Pictures stated that Wong “deserves a premium TV series in the mold of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Jessica Jones or Orphan Black … She will be a complex woman with a personal life.”

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The Ink Factory has a number of Asian projects underway, including the Korean-language series “The Plotters” and the thriller “Her Name is Knight.”

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Featured image via Asian Film Archive

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