Everyone makes a big deal over what a racist caricature Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu was, but, if these overly sensitive critics would deign to read just one of Rohmer’s wonderful books, they’d learn differently. To wit (from The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu):
"Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present… Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man."
And yet the cultural watchdogs drone on and on about Fu Manchu being a hateful metaphor for the encroaching yellow horde (as if our country hasn’t been overrun by a whole batch of funny talkers who do kung fu). Add to the list of PC killjoys Anant Singh of Distant Horizon, a South African production company looking to revive Fu Manchu as, get this, "an antihero who fits in with a more socially conscious world". I guess this nixes my fervently hoped-for casting of Mickey Rooney (on stilts or Richard Kiel’s shoulders).
Singh, who produced 1992 Best Picture winner Sarafina!, is teaming with veteran exploitation hack Harry Alan Towers. Towers’s wife (and star of many a Fu Manchu feature), Maria Rohm, will also be take a producer credit on this proposed abomination. Singh is currently working with Fruit Chan on a remake of Hideo Nakata’s Don’t Look Up, so he’s obviously in cahoots with the yellow peril. He’s also developing a live-action version of Yasuomi Umetsu’s Kite with Rob Cohen, which means he’s equally in cahoots with The Devil.