Although Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan has worked in Hollywood for almost 30 years - following a legendary kickboxing career - and has has been on the sets of some of the biggest films ever, from "Back To The Future, Part II" to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", she never had the desire to produce her own film.
Until she received the script for the upcoming film, "The Martial Arts Kid", a coming-of-age story co-headlined by martial arts/action-movie legends Cynthia Rothrock and Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
"The Martial Arts Kid" tells the tale of a troubled teen named Robbie who moves to Cocoa Beach, Florida from Detroit after his grandmother has had enough of his antics. He soon realizes that everywhere he goes there is somebody who doesn’t want him to be happy… and in Cocoa Beach, that somebody is Bo Whitelaw, the toughest and most popular guy at the high school.
From the moment Bo gives Robbie a beat-down in front of Rina (the prettiest girl in school), we know Robbie’s chances of living in a happy neighborhood are just not realistic. To help Robbie stand a chance of survival in a dangerous teen world, his estranged Aunt Cindy and Uncle Glen (played by Rothrock and Wilson) coach and train Robbie to learn how to defend himself.
"I want to be attached to a good script", says Wheeler-Duncan. "I don't need to do this. I'm older. I've been in this business for 30 years. I am not interested in just putting my name on a movie just to be in the limelight."
"I am interested in putting my name to something that I care about, that has a good storyline and good moral characters in it - that will..do good in the movie and not bring more negative (messages)", Wheeler-Duncan continues. "Despite it being great martial arts, I want to see a great story (as well)."
"I've turned down movies over the years - working on movies - because the theme was not good or it didn't serve children and, I think, a bigger picture of what Hollywood should be about.", she adds. "It should be more responsible about what it does - and I'm really proud of this."
"The Martial Arts Kid" is set to start filming this June and is scheduled to hit theaters in the Summer of 2015.