See-Saw Films and Jump Film & TV are producing The Legend of Monkey, a new live-action fantasy show that is scheduled to premiere on ABC in Australia, TVNZ in New Zealand and Netflix around the globe next year.
The Legend of Monkey is inspired by the 16th-century Chinese fable Journey to the West. The 10×30-minute series follows a teenage girl and three fallen gods as they attempt to rid their world of demonic forces. The cast will include Chai Hansen (Mako Mermaids), Luciane Buchanan (Filthy Rich), Josh Thomson (Terry Teo) and Emilie Cocquerel (Lion).
The Legend of Monkey is an official New Zealand/Australian co-production, with principal investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW, Fulcrum Media Finance and the New Zealand Screen Production Grant. The series is being filmed in and around Auckland. It is penned by head writer Jacquelin Perske alongside Craig Irvin and Samantha Strauss, with Gerard Johnstone serving as lead director.
“The mythical tale of the Monkey King is a story that continues to captivate global audiences,” said Michael Carrington, the head of children’s at ABC Television. “Our production partner See-Saw Films is bringing The Legend of Monkey to life through incredible locations and sets, an acclaimed production team and an exciting, diverse young cast. We can’t wait for fans to see this new series that features the heroes they love and we are just as excited to introduce this reimagined magical and exciting world to a whole new generation of viewers.”
Rachel Gardner of See-Saw Films noted: “Jacquelin has adapted this classic literary work in such a way as to create an original fantasy world that is occupied by charismatic and interesting characters that will entertain all ages. Brought to life by the vision of Gerard, the story and setting will not be like anything we’ve seen before.”
Robin Scholes of Jump Film & TV remarked: “Gerard has the best people working at every level beside him so the production values on screen for cinematography, design, costume and make-up are breathtaking, as are the performances of a largely New Zealand cast. We’re also thrilled that Australian and New Zealand audiences will see it first on ABC and TVNZ.”
Andrew Shaw, TVNZ’s general manager of acquisitions, commissioning and production, stated: “This is an extraordinary project to be involved with and we can’t wait to be the first to bring it to New Zealand audiences. Shot in New Zealand, with a team of Kiwis taking key roles in front of and behind the cameras, The Legend of Monkey is big-budget fantasy drama series that will surprise and delight family viewers globally and locally. We’re a business built on highly original content and this ticks all the boxes: it’s a tremendous tale, visually imaginative and made by talented people. Kids are going to love it.”
Andy Yeatman, the director of global kids’ content at Netflix, commented: “We’re thrilled to distribute this world-class local production to young audiences around the world. The legendary Monkey King and his epic journey have mesmerized fans for ages. We’re delighted the creative team at See-Saw Films and Jump Film & TV are bringing this reimagining to life for ABC and Netflix.”
Jamie Laurenson and Hakan Kousetta of See-Saw Films added: “A wonderful team of creatives and a crew of master craftsman are bringing an astonishing fantasy world to life. With ABC, Netflix and TVNZ we hope to bring an international audience of all ages to Jacquelin and Gerard’s reimagining of an amazing story.”