There was almost a ‘The Last Dragon’ remake starring Pop Smoke as Sho’nuff & directed by Eddie Huang
Here's a film we wish we could've seen: a remake of '80s cult classic The Last Dragon starring the late Pop Smoke and made by Eddie Huang. Huang was on Dave Chang's podcast today for an episode specifically about their love of The Last Dragon, the 1985 kung-fu comedy that was produced by Motown's Berry Gordy and liberally mixed in pop music and music video culture into the film. (Prince protege Vanity was one of the film's stars.) At one point early in the episode, Huang casually mentioned that he was approached by Columbia Pictures to pitch a remake.
"They were like, 'We’re doing a remake of The Last Dragon," Eddie said. "I was like 'what, shut the fuck up...that is the most slept on film of the '80s!' They said 'The Gordy family, Columbia, we want to remake the film.' And I actually got to pitch a version of The Last Dragon."
Huang's pitch -- he referred to it as "Last Dragon 2" -- was to make it a "gentrification comedy, 'cause black people are being pushed out of Harlem now." Huang wanted Pop Smoke to take on the iconic role of Sho'nuff, aka "The Shogun of Harlem" who was played by Julius John Carry III in the original.
"I talked to Pop Smoke about it. Pop’s manager, Rico, was a huge Sho’nuff fan. It was funny cause I was talking to Pop about it — 'bro, you’d be an amazing Sho’Nuff' -- and he was like “What’s the Last Dragon?” And his manager was like “I can’t believe you haven’t seen this film!” The whole bus started talking about how the greatest ‘80s New York movies were The Last Dragon and King of New York."
Alas, it was not to be for many reasons. "The final meeting was between me and one other person, a very very well-known director" who ended up getting the job. It might not be happening at all anymore -- Huang said that he thinks the script is now "stalled."
Huang, who was a restaurateur before his memoir Fresh Off the Boat got turned into an ABC sitcom (which led to other TV and film work), did get to work with Pop Smoke, though. Eddie's feature film directorial debut, Boogie, has Pop in a small role. "They got me playing some basketball player," Pop told Power 105.1's Angie Martinez just a couple weeks before he was shot and killed in February. "I got some lines. It's a nice role. I got a nice check too... I'm going to fuck with the acting."
Boogie, which Huang also wrote, also features Dave East and, according IMDB, is about "a Chinese-American basketball phenom who struggles to balance the expectations of his immigrant family with his own dreams of becoming a player for the NBA."
No word on a release date for Boogie. Stay tuned. you can listen to The Last Dragon episode of The Dave Chang Show, and watch the trailer for Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, below.