Guess who's back? Jean-Claude Van Damme is returning to the Kickboxer franchise. While the original 1989 film stands alongside Bloodsport as one of the actor's great 80s martial arts flicks, that film's sequels (without him) were basic straight-to-video fare. Now there's a remake in the works and the producers have cast JCVD in it in order to stir up interest.
Van Damme will play the mentor role to the film's protagonist Kurt Sloan, who will be played by Alain Moussi. The role was recently in the hands of Thai superstar Tony Jaa, but when Jaa dropped out, JCVD got the call and is now in final talks to join the remake.
One of the film's producers, Ted Field, gushed about the casting. "We are so excited to have Kickboxer roll into production and to have JCVD in the role of Master Chow, passing the torch to Alain, to have him lead the franchise to a new generation," he told The Hollywood Reporter. The name of the role, of course, will likely change now that Van Damme is playing it- but when he refers to "Mr. Chow" he's referring to the mentor role that Dennis Chan played in the original film.
The remake will be directed by John Stockwell (Into The Blue, Crazy/Beautiful). Other notable actors appearing in the film are Guardians of The Galaxy's Dave Bautista and Captain America: The Winter Soldier's MMA megastar, Georges St. Pierre.
JCVD was reportedly so happy to be joining the film that he was spotted doing this at a local bar: