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Colin Firth to Star in Hollywood Adaptation of Chinese Comic “Zombie Brother”

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Colin Firth has signed on to star in a Hollywood adaptation of Chinese comic Zombie Brother. The Oscar-winning actor joins director Todd Strauss-Schulson (Isn’t It RomanticThe Final Girls) for the Tencent Pictures and STXFilms co-production, which is tentatively titled New York Will Eat You Alive.

That name gives you a clue as to where the new movie will be set, but the source material very much comes from China. Created by Jia Haibo, aka 7℃ Fish, Zombie Brother has been one of the most popular comics on Tencent’s dedicated anime and comics platform in recent years and has already been the subject of a successful animated adaptation, attracting billions of views.

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Chinese Comic “Zombie Brother” is Getting a Hollywood Adaptation

As Fan Shuhong wrote when we first reported that the comic would get the Hollywood treatment last year:

Zombie Brother started in 2011 as a serialized comic created by Jia Haibo, aka 7℃ Fish. An animated version began airing in 2013, just as the undead genre was receiving a boost following the popularity of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Inspired by a zombie game, Jia wanted to create an illustrated survival epic, but as someone too scared to watch horror films, after a few pages Zombie Brother quickly turned into a horror comedy. Subsequent installments have featured a lot of everyday-life jokes, sometimes dirty ones, and cultural elements that Chinese youth can easily relate to.”

Those jokes have meant the comics have sometimes fallen foul of China’s strict content rules. As Fan noted, “the notorious comic was one of 20 on the [Tencent] platform to violate content regulations according to authorities in Guangdong province [in 2015].”

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“Colin always gives an Oscar-caliber performance,” Adam Fogelson, Chairman of the STXfilms Motion Picture Group, said of the announcement, according to Deadline. “We’re thrilled to be reuniting with him on New York Will Eat You Alive in a role that will allow him to have fun while showcasing his deadpan humor and comic timing.”

Deteriorating US-China relations and the closure of cinemas thanks to Covid-19 have slowed what was once a rush of Sino-American co-productions like New York Will Eat You Alive. Nevertheless, there remain some high-profile projects in the works, including Netflix’s reworking of Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem, which is being helmed by Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss together with Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.