While Jeri Ryan has thoroughly confirmed her involvement (as Sonya Blade) through frequent activity on her Twitter account [full story], a full press release from Warner Premiere has reconfirmed the return of of Michael Jai White (Spawn, The Dark Knight) as Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs, along with English actor, Darren Shahlavi, in the upcoming digitally distributed series, Mortal Kombat.
WB's press release for the Mortal Kombat digital series project is featured in full below:
Warner Premiere today announced initial casting for their upcoming live-action digital new media series "Mortal Kombat" which is based on the iconic gaming franchise. Jeri Ryan, ("Star Trek: Voyager") will reprise her role as the headstrong "Lieutenant Sonya Blade” from the unofficial fan short. She is joined by Michael Jai White ("The Dark Knight") as "Major Jackson 'Jax' Briggs" and Darren Shahlavi ("300") as the sly and cunning "Kano."
Kevin Tancharoen who directed and produced the popular, unofficial "Mortal Kombat: Rebirth" fan short (watch below) that garnered over 10 million views worldwide, is bringing the same immersive directing style to this live-action digital new media series. Fans will be able to delve deep into the history of the warriors they know and love including "Sub-Zero" and "Scorpion." Shooting for "Mortal Kombat" is currently underway in Vancouver.
"It's extremely gratifying to have such talented actors playing these iconic roles," said Kevin Tancharoen, Director, Producer and Co-Writer of "Mortal Kombat." "They will bring the essence of 'Mortal Kombat' to life and gamers will be deeply immersed into the game's universe."
"Mortal Kombat" is one of the most celebrated videogame franchises of all time. Since its debut in 1992, it has spawned four arcade games, multiple console-based videogame titles, two movies ("Mortal Kombat" and "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation"), two television series and an animated prequel. Additionally, a new "Mortal Kombat" video game developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Ent. will be available April 19, 2011 on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.
Written by Kevin Tancharoen, Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing, and available online this spring from Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, the "Mortal Kombat" digital new media series is an anthology of multiple live action shorts. Each episode will provide never-before-revealed insights into characters featured in the upcoming videogame as well as the game's universe.
"Mortal Kombat," the newest chapter of the award-winning videogame franchise, will be on store shelves starting April 19th, 2011. Marking a triumphant return to the series' mature presentation and a reinvention of its classic 2D fighting mechanic, "Mortal Kombat" will introduce a number of new game-play features including tag team, a deeper story mode and nostalgic online and offline arcade battles. Players will be able to choose from an extensive lineup of iconic warriors and challenge their friends in head-to-head competition as well as several new game modes.
Darren Shahlavi, confirmed to star as longtime rival of Jax and Sonya, Kano, is an English actor featured in films such as 300 and Ip Man 2. In addition, he's no stranger to films video games, having appeared in both Alone in the Dark and BloodRayne, as well as providing motion capture for titles such as GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Dragon Age: Origins, and EA Sports MMA. Shahlavi's martial arts credentials follow up on the emphasis on action from many crew members, which include hints that the longtime rivalry between Kano and Sonya will continue in this project.
Darren Shahlavi in the 2010 Hong Kong feature, Ip Man 2
Update Feb. 14: Ian Anthony Dale, on break from filming TV series The Event, has joined the Twitter stampede. The actor will step into the covetted role of Hanzo Hasashi -- the ninja who, in the games, becomes Scorpion. On his transition, Dale notes:
After a week of awesome shooting on #theevent I am back to obsessing over my Japanese for #MortalKombat. Got to be perfect.
Update Feb. 14: A battle damaged Jeri Ryan appears with Vancouver TV personality, Victor Lucas, in the latest MK set photos from the Twittverse! Ryan herself also provides a great shot from the smokey set, kitted out for action as Sonya Blade!
Lucas [pictured above] is a host and co-producer for video game programme, The Electric Playground, making it reasonable to suspect the Vancouver Mortal Kombat shoot might get a feature on the show, in the near future. Jeri Ryan has shared several photos from the set during her time in Vancouver, as noted in a spotlight on MKO earlier in the week [full story].
Jeri Ryan, Michael Jai White and Darren Shahlavi can all be found on Twitter. Follow MK Online as we continue to cover this exciting story and keep up to date on the actors cast to play your favorite characters in this the first live action Mortal Kombat in over a decade.
Update Feb. 15: IGN is reporting that actor Tahmoh Penikett has joined the cast to play riot cop Kurtis Stryker. Penikett is perhaps most well known as Karl 'Helo' Agathon from the hit series Battlestar Galactica. He has also had roles in television series such as Dollhouse and Cold Squad. Penikett has a Twitter account, which can be accessed here, but it has not been used in some time.
Update Feb. 16: Twitter has once again been the bringer of news regarding Mortal Kombat casting! Ryan Robbins (@RyRobbins) arrived in Vancouver to join the shoot, with Stargate fan-site, GateWorld.net, reporting that he will play Raiden. This comes on the back of clandestine communications MKO had with project Director of Photography, C. Kim Miles, who noted the air in Vancouver will be "electric", with some localized [weather] anomolies expected .
Update Feb. 17: Twitter continues to be the source of confirmation as Johnny Cage Rebirth actor Matt Mullins confirms his involvement with the digital series!
@Sideswipematt Thanks Everyone! I start shooting my scenes in Mortal Kombat tomorrow!
Matt Mullins is a five time world martial arts champion and master of Shorei Ryu. His acting credits include starring roles in films such as Bloodfist 2050 and Adventures of Johnny Tao: Rock Around the Dragon. In addition, he was a motion capture artist for Nathan Drake in the acclaimed 2007 action video game Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. You can follow Matt on Twitter here.
Update Feb. 17 #2: Yet another actor participating in the project has confirmed via Twitter his involvment. Shane Warren Jones will be playing the part of the yellow Lin Kuei cyborg Cyrax in the upcoming 10-episode series. Jones is a Canadian actor who has worked on shows such as Attack of the Show!, Nip/Tuck and Deadliest Warrior in the past few years. You can follow him on Twitter at @ShaneWarrenJ.
Update Feb. 19: After initial reservations, actress Tracy Spiridakos revealed she had been cast to play a new character to the Mortal Kombat universe simply entitled "Blue". Whether or not this is truly a new character remains to be seen, but she did confirm her character would not be princess Kitana.
Spiridakos is perhaps best known in her starring role in the TV series Majority Rules!. Her other acting credits include The Boy She Met Online and appearances in popular series such as Psych and Supernatural. You can follow Tracy on Twitter @tracyspirdakos. Once more information is known on her mystery character, we will be sure to update you!
Thanks to forum members kyzon, queve and all our Twitter followers for their contribution of news sources this update! Mortal Kombat Online will continue to update details on the story, as they become available.