‘Crazy Rich Asians’ star Ken Jeong lands the lead role in ‘Occupation’ sequel

Ken Jeong.

In a casting coup writer-director Luke Sparke has signed Crazy Rich Asians’ Ken Jeong to play the lead in Occupation: Rainfall.

The sequel to Sparke’s sci-fi thriller Occupation starts a four-month shoot spanning the Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, the Snowy Mountains and Alice Springs tonight.

Temuera Morrison, Dan Ewing, Stephany Jacobsen, Aaron Jeffery, Zac Garred, Izzy Stephens and Trystan Go will reprise their roles from the original film.

Also joining the cast for the sequel are Lawrence Makoare, Vince Colosimo and Tamala Shelton, with more names to be revealed.

Sparke said: “We’re building a whole new world with Occupation: Rainfall and to have Ken join the film alongside our awesome returning cast members is mind blowing. I’ve admired his work and his successes for years and can’t wait to see what brings to the project when he arrives here in October.”

Co-written by Sparke and Felix Williamson, the sequel picks up two years into the intergalactic invasion of Earth as survivors in Sydney fight back in a desperate ground war. As casualties mount, the resistance and their unexpected allies uncover a plot that could see the war come to a decisive end.

With the alien invaders hell-bent on making Earth their new home, the race is on to save mankind. Jeong will play an American character who holds the key to the mystery and the reference to rainfall. Makoare (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) is cast as a friendly ally, with Colosimo as one of the survivors and Shelton as a military figure.

The producers are Carly Imrie and Carmel Imrie, with American Todd Williams (The Nun, Alex and Me) as co-executive producer.

Monster Pictures will distribute in Australia and New Zealand. “We see massive growth potential for the franchise. The Occupation team did an amazing job with the first film so we naturally wanted to be on-board for the sequel,” says Monster Pictures’ Grant Hardie.

Sparke announced plans for the follow-up in May, before Occupation had been released, due to feedback from international distributors.

The international sales agent, Film Mode Entertainment’s Clay Epstein, said: “We are extremely excited about the follow up to what has already proven to be a huge success all over the world.

“This is a testament to Luke’s talent as a filmmaker and to audiences’ hunger for entertaining and well produced films. With even bigger F/X and more at stake on the screen, Occupation: Rainfall is going to conquer the marketplace.”

Saban Films released Occupation theatrically in the US in July followed by VOD. Sparke says there are offers from many interested parties in the US and internationally for the sequel.

Jeong stars in Sony’s upcoming fantasy-adventure Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, Joe Carnahan’s action-thriller Boss Level and Paramount/Nickelodeon’s animated comedy Wonder Park.

He is also set to headline his first stand-up comedy special for Netflix, Ken Jeong: First Date, directed by Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu.