Leading Taiwan actor Kai Ko was seriously injured by a camera-carrying drone while filming Mandarin-language fantasy series “Agent From Above.” The show is set to play on Netflix.
The incident happened on Dec. 27, 2022, but was first reported this week by Taiwan’s United Daily News. It has subsequently been confirmed by the producers. They told Variety that production has resumed, but said that Ko (aka Ko Chen-tung) has not yet returned to work.
Ko’s manager told Taiwan media that the star had suffered “serious disfigurement” after he was hit in the face, close to his cheekbone. The manager said that he required 20-30 stitches.
The fantasy drama is produced by Singapore’s mm2 Asia and Taiwan’s Good Films Production.
“Kai Ko was involved in a drone accident during the production of ‘Agent From Above’ on 27 December 2022. The shoot was operating within standard safety guidelines. The drone’s propeller blades were also shielded by a protective layer and there was no explosion or blades shattering as reported in some articles,” said a statement supplied by mm2 and Good Films.
“We are deeply regretful that the accident occurred and injured Kai’s cheeks. Kai was immediately provided medical attention, and his talent management team has also arranged micro-stitching for him. The production team is sorry for the incident and is further investigating the matter. We have temporarily paused filming for our lead actor Kai to allow him time to rest and recover. We are looking forward to having him back on set when he is fully recovered.”
Netflix had not responded by press time to Variety‘s request for comment.
Ko is a major star whose debut role was in the 2011 school drama film “You Are the Apple of My Eye,” which became a pan-Asian hit. He subsequently played in China’s four “Tiny Times” social climber movies between 2013-1015.
He was arrested in 2014 in Beijing for alleged drug possession. While Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee Chan spent six months in jail for the distribution of marijuana and sheltering other drug users, Ko served two weeks of judicial detention before returning to Taiwan. He has not since appeared in a mainland Chinese film or TV production.
His career appears to have been little dented. Ko was the star of gay drama “Moneyboys” which appeared in Cannes Un Certain Regard section in 2021. He was also star of last year’s “Mama Boy,” directed by Arvin Chen. Shortly before starting production in November on “Agent From Above,” Ko made his feature directing debut with “Bad Education.”
The pitch for “Agent From Above” involves a former drug addict who is recruited to do the bidding of legendary Chinese god San Tai Zi as redemption for his sins. Alongside Ko, it stars Buffy Chen (“The Silent Forest”), Hsueh Shih-ling, Wang Po-Chieh and Johnny Yang. Direction is by Donnie Lai Chun-Yu.