Minnesota's Ben Wang cast as next 'Karate Kid,' will join Jackie Chan, Ralph Macchio onscreen

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Minnesotan Ben Wang is joining a club that so far counts Ralph Macchio, Hilary Swank and Jaden Smith as its members, with the news that he'll star in Sony Pictures' next "Karate Kid" film.

The Hollywood Reporter broke news of the casting on Monday. Wang reportedly landed the role with an audition that "demonstrated his deep connection to the character," the outlet reported. He's also fluent in Mandarin and trained in several martial arts.

The movie is scheduled for a Dec. 13, 2024 release. It will see Macchio, the original Karate Kid, and Jackie Chan reprise their roles from previous "Karate Kid" films and the "Cobra Kai" series, which is set to end its six-season run this year.

Wang's most recent project, the Disney+ series "American Born Chinese," earned favorable reviews among critics. Wang told the Star Tribune's Neal Justin last year in an interview that playing the lead hit close to home.

"When Jin goes home, he feels like he's in a completely different world. And for me, it was like that on steroids," Wang said. "I wasn't the only Asian kid at Northfield High. If you walked the hallways all day, you'd probably catch one of the other ones. But I was probably the only one that wasn't adopted, so I had a Chinese culture at home. There were times I took pride in that and there were times I was made fun of for taking pride in that."

Michelle Yeoh, who starred alongside Chan in in 1992′s "Super Cop," told Justin it was "just a joy" to work with Wang."

Sony has divulged few details about the new "Karate Kid" film, but the movie will return its focus to the U.S. after the 2010 outing starring Chan and Smith took it to China.