BEVERLY HILLS – AMC’s new martial arts drama series “Into the Badlands,” starring Asian American actors Daniel Wu (“Tai Chi Zero”) and Aramis Knight (“The Dark Knight Rises”) will premiere Sunday, Nov. 15, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
In a land controlled by feudal barons, “Into the Badlands” tells the story of a ruthless, well-trained warrior named Sunny (Wu) and a young boy named M.K. (Knight) who embark on a spiritual journey across a dangerous land. Loosely based on the classic Chinese tale “Journey to the West”, the six-part series was created by writers/showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar (“Shanghai Noon,” “Smallville”). They serve as executive producers along with Wu and fellow Hong Kong film star/director Stephen Fung.
“‘Into the Badlands’ is an exciting moment for us in that martial arts is not only a new genre for an AMC series, but also one that has been largely absent from television for 15 years,” said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming for AMC and SundanceTV. “The team behind ‘Into the Badlands,’ led by showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar, is composed of some of the best martial artists and martial arts filmmakers in the world, and they have crafted a show that over-delivers against two big goals we set for the show: to create a compelling character drama, and to introduce the highest caliber of martial arts filmmaking to a weekly, ongoing series.”
“After working together with such a talented team of executive producers, writers and executives at AMC, I am excited for the opportunity to bring this character to life,” said Wu.
The series premiere will coincide with AMC’s newest movie event, “AMC FightFest,” a two-week martial arts movie marathon running through Friday, Nov. 13. The on-air special event will feature some of the most iconic martial arts films in the history of the genre each weeknight at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
“Into the Badlands” is set centuries from now, where a feudal society has emerged and the strongest and most brutal rose to wealth and power. This area came to be called the Badlands, and is divided among seven rival barons who control the resources necessary to daily life and enforce their rule with the aid of loyal armies known as clippers.
Clippers enjoy status and comforts the general population can only dream of, and they are willing to sacrifice their lives in service to their barons. Few clippers ever live to see their 30th birthday, but Sunny is no ordinary clipper. Demonstrating lethal proficiency in martial arts, Sunny rose swiftly through the ranks to become Quinn’s (Marton Csokas, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”) head clipper and most trusted advisor.
For decades, Quinn has been unchallenged as the Badlands’ most powerful baron, but the territory’s newest baron, The Widow (Emily Beecham, “28 Weeks Later”), has begun staging brazen attacks on Quinn’s transport vehicles and is testing his appetite for a fight. One of those attacks leads Sunny to M.K., a teenage boy who has survived a deadly ambush. Sunny soon comes to understand that the teen harbors a dark secret and has a hefty bounty on his head.
As The Widow continues her campaign against Quinn, the destinies of the stoic assassin and the impetuous teenager become intertwined. In their evolution as teacher and student, each will discover his true purpose; together, they will embark on an odyssey that could mean the difference between chaos and enlightenment for everyone in the Badlands.
The cast also includes Oliver Stark (“Luther”) as Ryder; Orla Brady (“Dr. Who,” “Fringe”) as Lydia; Sarah Bolger (“Once Upon a Time,” “The Tudors”) as Jade; Ally Ioannides (“Parenthood”) as Tilda; and Madeleine Mantock (“Edge of Tomorrow”) as Veil.
Wu is a Hong Kong-based Chinese American actor, director and producer. Born in Berkeley, he was raised in Orinda in a family whose parents were Shanghai natives who were both educated in the States. After graduating from the University of Oregon, he moved to Hong Kong in 1997.
A film buff (and scholar in the Chinese martial arts discipline of wushu), Wu admired both Jackie Chan and Jet Li as a youngster. He landed his first professional roles in 1998 in a trio of Chinese-language features, most notably in “City of Glass.” Since then, Wu has been featured in over 60 films.
He won the prestigious Hong Kong Prize as best director for his 2006 feature “The Heavenly Kings,” his directorial debut that also brought him the Chinese Film Media Award as best director. In addition to his work in front of the camera, Wu has produced five projects: “Night Corridor,” “Like a Dream,” “The Heavenly Kings,” “Tai Chi Zero” and “Control.”
Knight was born in Los Angeles on Oct. 3, 1999. His ethnic background is German, Eastern Indian and Pakistani. At age 5 he attended an actor’s workshop with famed acting coach Kris Kyer in Burbank and within a few months he had recurring roles in two TV shows, “Boston Legal” and “Invasion.” Shortly after, he landed his first feature film “Rendition,” directed by Gavin Hood, followed by “Crossing Over,” starring Harrison Ford.
Knight has guest starred on multiple television series, including “The Middle,” “Psych,” “NCIS,” “Lost,” and “Dexter.” He has also done multiple voice acting roles in animated films such as “Shrek Forever After” and “Happy Feet 2.” In 2012, he received the chance of a lifetime when he was cast as the role of Bean in “Ender’s Game,” which was also directed by Hood.
Official site: www.amc.com/shows/into-the-badlands