Due to Kai Ko‘s arrest for drug use in August of last year, all of his upcoming film projects have been banned in China for the time being, with Tiny Times 4.0 (小时代4) and Monster Hunt (捉妖记) bearing the brunt of the damage, since they had already wrapped up filming. Recently, it was announced that Monster Hunt would be refilmed, with Jing Boran taking Kai’s place as the male lead.
Monster Hunt is a live-action/animated film that tells the story of Wuba, a demon monster accidentally conceived by Tian Yin (Jing Boran). Wuba is brought to earth under the protection of Huo Xiaolan (Bai Baihe), an expert at subduing unruly monsters. When she develops affection for Wuba, Xiaolan struggles to complete her ultimate motive — to sell the little monster to the highest bidder.
Jing Boran was selected as Kai’s replacement because the two are of similar height and age, according to production company Edko Films. Moreover, he was the only suitable candidate who had an opening in his work schedule.
Refilming is expected to take 1.5 months. Cast members who filmed scenes alongside Kai will also be required to return and redo their shoots — an expensive process for everyone involved, since they are more or less shooting the movie twice. If this move proves successful, however, Monster Hunt is slated to become a trilogy. Check out a trailer here.
Kai expressed his support for Jing Boran on his Weibo, asking his replacement to “take good care of [Hu Ba] for me please.” Jing Boran then replied, “Brother, don’t worry. I will definitely take good care of your son.”
Originally scheduled to air during the Lunar New Year season, Monster Hunt will likely see its release date pushed back to sometime during the summer. Edko Films is also considering including the “Kai Ko version” on the DVD release.
Monster Hunt is directed by Raman Hui, who worked as an animator for DreamWorks Animation before going on to co-direct Shrek the Third and direct a few more of the company’s short films. Monster Hunt marks his first feature-length directing endeavor.