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CBC drama on Asian crime in B.C.

November 4, 2005


Featuring one of the most star-studded casts ever assembled for a Canadian production, DRAGON BOYS, a four-hour mini-series for CBC Television, is currently filming in and around Vancouver.

Byron Mann, Steph Song, Tzi Ma, Lawrence Chou and Eric Tsang star in DRAGON BOYS, an extraordinary human drama which centres on a Chinese Canadian RCMP detective and an immigrant family who confront a deadly threat from Asian organized crime. DRAGON BOYS is written by Ian Weir and directed by Jerry Ciccoritti. Ian Weir and Michael Chechik are executive producers; Howard Dancyger is producer.

Set in Richmond and Vancouver, British Columbia, DRAGON BOYS is both compelling family drama and a high-octane thriller that weaves together four stories that evoke a rich tapestry of contemporary West Coast life.

Byron Mann (Red Corner, Catwoman) stars as RCMP Detective Tommy Jiang who sees a chance to bring down senior gangsters (Eric Tsang, Lawrence Chou) by turning one of them against the others. But as he’s drawn into a high-stakes game of bluff and double-bluff, he risks losing everything as he faces an irrevocable choice about who he is and how far he is willing to go.

Since emigrating from China, Henry Wah (Tzi Ma, The Quiet American) and his wife (Christina Ma, Long Life, Prosperity and Happiness) have worked doggedly to build a life for themselves, but in the process he has grown distant from his son, Jason (Simon Wong). Now 17 and the target of racial bullying, Jason is helped by a Chinese-Canadian student with gang connections. When a robbery goes horrifically wrong, Jason runs for his life and Henry desperately tries to save him.

A factory worker in southern Cambodia, Chavy Pahn (Steph Song, Everything’s Gone Green), arranges for documents and a plane ticket to Vancouver. But instead of a modelling career, she discovers she’s trapped with no friends, no passport and no way to pay off a $30,000 debt. Warehoused with 10 other girls and forced into prostitution, she sees a chance for escape when she catches the eye of a much-feared gang enforcer (Darryl Quon), the most dangerous man she will ever meet.

Examining the tensions and complexities within the multi-ethnic fabric of contemporary Vancouver, DRAGON BOYS explores the immigrant experience, social dislocation, generational conflict within families and personal and cultural identity. Based on meticulous research, it opens a window onto the world of Asian organized crime in West Coast Canada. It also examines how the impact of organized crime ripples through the wider community, both in terms of the social and economic toll it takes and the stereotypes it propagates.

One of the most celebrated stars in Asia, Eric Tsang stars as crime boss William Lok. Tsang has appeared in some 150 films, including the Hong Kong box-office sensation Infernal Affairs. His son, Derek Tsang, is also journeying from Hong Kong to play a key role.

“The cast is well beyond anything we dared to hope for when we started this process,” says Ian Weir. “The local Asian-Canadian acting pool has grown tremendously rich and deep over the past decade and, in addition, the project has attracted international stars.”

The creative team behind the camera is as stellar as the cast. Director Jerry Ciccoritti (Shania, Trudeau, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe) has won a slate of awards, including seven Geminis for Best Director. Writer and executive producer Ian Weir is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter and creator of the long-running teen drama, Edgemont. President of Omni Film Productions, executive producer Michael Chechik’s many credits include Edgemont, Champions of the Wild and The Odyssey.

DRAGON BOYS is produced by Anchor Point Pictures Inc. in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. DRAGON BOYS will film for 40 days until mid December. The two-part, four-hour mini-series will be broadcast on the CBC on March 12 and 13, 2006.