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Fei-Hung was a real person, and exaggerated accounts of his exploits plus various professional and familial connections to the nascent days of the modern martial-arts theater and film tradition in China (one of his students, Lam Sai-Wing, was the teacher of many of the early pioneers who created the Hong Kong film industry) led to him becoming by far the most popular folk-hero to be depicted in Chinese period action movies - well over 100 films have been made about him or with him as a character. Fei-Hung is one of those martial-arts folk legends whose myth is so pervasive that it's actually difficult to discern where his real story ends and the movie versions begin; though it's obviously pretty unlikely that his dad was ever forced to fight what amounts to Chinese Ninja Zorro.

The version modern western audiences are likely most-familiar with are the Once Upon a Time in China movies, where Fei-Hung is played by Jet-Li. Hark created that series as well, and the Fei-Hung sequences in Iron Monkey drop lots of not so subtle hints that this is the same Fei-Hung as Li's, making it an unofficial prequel. To give you an idea how deep this particular rabbit-hole goes; Jackie Chan is also playing Fei Hung in the Drunken Master movies, and he also encounters his actor pal Sammo Hung doing a cameo as Fei-Hung in Around The World in 80 Days. Hung, meanwhile, memorably portrayed the above-mentioned Lam Sai-Wing in The Magnificent Butcher opposite an older Fei-Hung played by Hong Kong icon Kwan Tak-hing - the actor who originated and popularized the Fei-Hung movie persona and played the role 77 times - the most times any actor has ever played the same character in separate films. Why are Chinese action movies so good? Pedigree.

Adaptation (2002)

Here's a movie with at least four real people being very, very unreal ... though not as unreal as you might think. And the story behind it is even stranger than the story it tells ...

Here's how this happened: In 1997, Columbia Pictures decided to try and make a movie out of Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief; which told the story of Orlean's encounter with an oddball rare plant poacher. Offbeat writer Charlie Kaufman of Being John Malkovich got the job of writing the screenplay ... but immediately found the book to be un-adaptable. Struck with severe writer's block, Kaufman chose to deal with the stress of the situation by turning the screenplay into an exaggerated chronicle of his own difficulties in writing it, inventing increasingly bizarre (fictional) scenarios for himself and the other "real" people in the story and even imagining a twin brother for himself named Donald - to whom he gave a co-writing credit on the script. Kaufman said he thought he'd be fired for turning the screenplay in ... instead, it became this movie and was nominated for multiple Oscars (and Chris Cooper won one of them!)

Nicolas Cage plays both Charlie and Donald. Charlie becomes obsessed with Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) as he tries and fails to turn her book into a script, and to his horror perennial screwup Donald begins to see real success after he bangs out a cheesy Shyamalan-esque twist-based screenplay on his first try after attending a seminar by infamous (real-life) screenwriting guru Robert McKee (Brian Cox); so Charlie heads to McKee himself looking for answers. McKee's advice is, essentially, to retrofit the offbeat, meditative Orchid Thief into a conventional Hollywood potboiler full of sex, violence, drugs, gunfights, forced conflict and contrived emotion. And wouldn't you know it, suddenly Adaptation's final act begins morphing into a completely different kind of movie ...

If nothing else, one has to marvel at the level of honest introspection Kaufman displays in having his fictionalized version of McKee so decisively dress-down the kind of "anti-formula" storytelling Kaufman himself is so often praised for.

Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet.

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