TV’s Zaniest 70s show is back! With its OTT battle scenes and special effects, Monkey was a cult classic. Now it has restarted …
- Legends Of Monkey is on Netflix now, remade by TV producer Rachel Gardner
- She grew up in New Zealand and says the dubbed kung-fu show has stayed with her
- Now the show has been updated with Chai Hansen playing Monkey
Even by the crazy standards of 1970s TV, Monkey was special.
A Chinese myth retold by a Japanese production company and dubbed in English with comedic voices (including Miriam Margolyes and Andrew Sachs), her heroes were a monkey god who could fly on clouds, a lusty pig god, a woman dressed as a monk and a cheeky water god who used to be a cannibal.
They were on their way from China to India to find some sacred scriptures, fighting bad guys along the way with some gloriously unrealistic kung fu fights with special panto effects. But the show became a huge worldwide hit.
Monkey in the new series, played by Australian actor Chai Hansen. The New Legends Of Monkey is out now on Netflix, but this time it contains less DIY special effects
TV producer Rachel Gardner grew up in New Zealand and was enraptured. “I was obsessed,” she recalls.
‘Me and my brother would do the fights by poking mops together. There was something about this poorly dubbed show that stayed with me. ‘
So much so that she was inspired to remake the series for a new generation. The New Legends Of Monkey was made for New Zealand and Australian TV, but also became a worldwide hit thanks to Netflix. Now a second series is out.
While it keeps the crazy energy it has been updated. Australian actor Chai Hansen, who has Chinese and Thai ancestry, plays the monkey god Monkey.
The original god Monkey, played by popular Japanese actor Masaaki Sakai, now 73, (pictured in 1978)
“The show is very stupid and quirky,” he says. “There is nothing like that.”
This monkey has diminished powers after being trapped in a mountain for 500 years. He was released by a young girl (Luciane Buchanan) posing as a monk named Tripitaka.
The real Tripitaka was tasked with finding Monkey before demons killed him in front of the girl, who is now the only one who knows how to defeat them by finding more sacred scrolls.
They find one in series one, and in series two the search continues. Beside them, Pigsy the pig god, played by Kiwi comedian Josh Thomson, and Sandy, the incapable water god, played by Emilie Cocquerel.
Most cast do their own stunts, but things can go wrong. “I gave myself a black eye,” Chai admits.
‘I got cocky in a fight scene and I fell and hit myself in the face with a staff. If you look closely in episode four you might see a huge bump on my face covered in makeup.
Sandy, the incompetent water god, is played by Emilie Cocquerel in the new series. She is known for her role in the 2016 movie LION
The New Legends Of Monkey is out now on Netflix.