Artisan Entertainment has signed Ray Park, who played Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace and Toad in X-Men, to play Iron Fist in its screen version of the Marvel Comics character. John Turman, whose credits include Buck Rogers In The 25th Century and The Incredible Hulk, will write the screenplay for the film which will be the first to emerge from Artisan's 2000 deal with Marvel Enterprises to jointly develop, produce and distribute character-based programming across all media.
Artisan is planning to shoot the feature before the pending SAG strike and is actively seeking a director, according to executive vice president Patrick Gunn. Gunn negotiated the deals for Artisan alongside Erin Austin and Eric Sherman. Park is represented by Writers And Artists Agency, The Pitt Group and Jeff Frankel at Colden, McKuin & Frankel; Turman is represented by Richard Saito at Innovative Artists and Eric M Brooks at Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Diemer & Klein.
Iron Fist is the story of Danny Rand, a westerner raised as a child in a secret temple in the Far East who returns to the US as an adult to avenge his parents' killers. The character has the power to channel his "chi" into his fist and strike with the force of iron.
Artisan and Marvel are also actively developing comic book character The Mighty Thor as a television property.