'Mortal Kombat' Spec Short Spawns Web Series Starring Michael Jai White

Last year there was a minor flurry of interest in a new Mortal Kombat film when a spec / proof of concept short appeared online. It was a dark, violent little piece of work that featured some surprising faces like Jeri Ryan and Michael Jai White.

Now, while a new feature evidently won't be happening soon, Kevin Tancharoen, the director of the short, is using it as a launchpad for a new Mortal Kombat web series that will also star Michael Jai White in a story where the classic Kombat characters square off against the series' big bads, Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung.

Bloody Disgusting says the director will oversee a ten-part web series written by Tancharoen, Todd Helbing and Aaron Helbing. Michael Jai White will again play Jax, and the footage should come together in Vancouver next month. The site expects to see casting for " Shang Tsung, Liu Kang, Sub Zero, Durak, Kabal, Kitana/Mileena and of course Scorpion," but that character list looks like speculation rather than reportage.

To recap info on the 2010 short, here's what Peter had to say about it last year:

The short film was shot in early April completely on spec. It was shot over two days on two RED cameras for or $7,500 with most of the crew donating their time. Post production took two months, and no one at the studio knew anything about the spec short film, even though screenwriter Oren Uziel (who is attached to the next Mortal Kombat movie according to imdb) wrote the script. Tancharoen made the film as a pitch for the job. The fight choreography was done by Larnell Stovall, who worked on the fight sequenced in Undisputed III, and did stunts for The Other Guys and Green Lantern.  Here is a short excerpt of Tancharoen's comments:

It's one of those passion projects that lived in my head. The technology is so accessible now. There's was no reason why I shouldn't do it, so I did it. I'm very, very happy that people are responding well to it. ...My heart has always been deeply immersed in fanboy culture. As a kid, all I wanted to do was be a Ninja Turtle who morphed to a Power Ranger. As long as I was in the suit, I was going to be happy, because I just wanted to be in the suit. I think, of course, for the people that know me, this is not really a shock. Because they know that this is my love. And I do understand that it's crazy to see such a shift in genre. But this is what I want to do, and this is what I've always wanted to do, and am very passionate about. And I knew that because I've always been in the performance world, if I ever wanted to make a genre picture, I had to do it myself first. So that was another reason why I felt like I should do this. And I went for it. ... this is my take on what I would want to do with Mortal Kombat. I would love it if Warner Bros. wanted to do it this way. ... the short so far is really designed like a prologue to the movie. Now, in a movie version, I am going to have that mysticism there, but it has to be done in a very tasteful way. I wouldn't like it too campy or too cheesy. I know this is a weird analogy, but it's the best one I can think of right now. It's kind of like when in Harry Potter, there's two universes that coexist with each other. There's the real world, and then you get on the train and then you go to Hogwart's, and that's where all the magic is. It was actually kind of similar in the first Mortal Kombat, too. They had to get on the ship and go to the island, and that's where all the crazy stuff happened.