Tong Wars (TV series)

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Tong Wars
GenreHistorical crime drama
Written byPaul Attanasio
Directed byWong Kar-wai
Country of origin
  • United States
Executive producer(s)Paul Attanasio
Running time60 minutes
Original networkAmazon Video

Tong Wars is a planned American historical crime drama web television series written by Paul Attanasio and directed by Wong Kar-wai, announced to premiere on Amazon Video. In May 2019, Screen Daily reported that the series was no longer in active development and that the rights had been relinquished by Amazon[1].


Tong Wars follows "the journey of Vicky Sun from a slave girl in turn-of-the-century Chinatown to the richest woman in 1970s San Francisco, a gangster saga that resonates within the complex narrative of the Chinese-American experience."[2]

The series is set in late nineteenth-century San Francisco, and focuses on the gang wars that took place between tongs – criminal organizations among the city's Chinese immigrants – in the Chinatown neighborhood.[3] The series is set to span from 1905 to 1971.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]

  • TBA as Vicky Sun
  • TBA as Tom Sun
  • TBA as Lo Mo
  • TBA as Johnny Young



In June 2016, it was announced that Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai was set to direct an online television series. It was reported that Wong had signed a deal with Huanxi Media Group 18-episode original drama series to be digitally distributed in China and around the world. Huanxi had agreed to spend $3.10 million to $3.85 million per episode. The show was expected to have two seasons — one with twelve episodes and the other with six.[5] In September 2017, Amazon Video gave a straight-to-series order for Tong Wars. Wong is still expected to direct the series which will be executive produced and written by Paul Attanasio.[3][6][7] In October 2017, Wong appeared at the annual Lumiere Festival in Lyons, France where he commented on the series saying, "The thing that attracted me to this project was the first opportunity to tell the story of the first Chinese-American experience in the most authentic and proper way, because I think there aren’t many films about this experience."[4]

In May 2019, Screen Daily reported an Amazon spokesperson as saying that the series was no longer in active development and that the rights had been relinquished by Amazon[1].


On November 23, 2017, a casting call notice was released that detailed further information about the series. The document clarified that the series would consist of ten episodes, provided a logline for the show, and listed the names and descriptions for the series' four lead characters that range in age from 14 to 70. The producers specified that they were looking for actors that could speak both fluent Cantonese and American English and would have to be available from July 2018 to January 2019.[2][8]


  1. ^ a b Shackleton, Liz (18 March 2019). "Filmart: Huanxi releases details on Wong Kar Wai web series 'Paradise Guesthouse'". Screen Daily.
  2. ^ a b "Casting Call: Wong Kar-Wai needs actors for 'Tong Wars'". Angry Asian Man. November 27, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia; Holloway, Daniel (September 9, 2017). "Amazon Orders Fred Armisen-Maya Rudolph Comedy, Wong Kar-wai Drama, 3 Other Projects (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Kohn, Eric (October 21, 2017). "Wong Kar-wai Explains His Move to Television With Amazon's 'Tong Wars' and His Next Feature Film". IndieWire. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (June 2, 2016). "Wong Kar Wai to Direct Chinese Online Drama Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 9, 2017). "Amazon Orders Fred Armisen-Maya Rudolph Comedy & Wong Kar-wai Drama Series; Greg Daniels, Bays-Thomas Pilots". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  7. ^ Lawrence, Derek (September 8, 2017). "Amazon Gives Series Order to Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen Comedy". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Huang, Zheping (December 1, 2017). "Wong Kar-wai is casting for his series about Chinese gangsters in 19th century San Francisco". Quartzy. Retrieved March 13, 2018.