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‘Karate Kid’ Casts ‘Cruel Summer’ Star Sadie Stanley as Romantic Lead (Exclusive)

Sadie Stanley, one of the stars of Freeform teen drama Cruel Summer, has joined the growing cast of Karate Kid, Sony Pictures’ latest installment of its martial arts coming-of-age franchise.

The actress will play the romantic lead opposite Ben Wang, the American Born Chinese actor who is toplining the feature and who nabbed the part after a global search.

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The cast also includes Jackie Chan and Ralph Macchio, who are reprising their iconic characters to continue the cinematic mythology of the previous movies. New to the cast is Joshua Jackson.

Plot details are being kept under the doji, but it is known that the new installment will bring the story to the East Coast and focus on a teen from China (Wang) who, as per Karate Kid lore, finds strength and direction via martial arts and a tough but wise mentor (or two).

Character details are not being revealed, but Stanley will play the daughter of Jackson’s character.

Jonathan Entwistle, known for the teen television dramas I’m Not Okay With This and The End of the F***ing World, is directing. Rob Lieber, whose credits include Sony’s Peter Rabbit and Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, wrote the script.

Karen Rosenfelt is producing the feature, which has a Dec. 13 release date.

A fast-rising actress, Stanley has been racking up plenty of credits since her debut as the title character in the 2019 live-action Kim Possible TV movie. She recently starred alongside Ray Romano and Laurie Metcalf in Romano’s directorial debut, Somewhere in Queens, and was one of the leads in the second season of Cruel Summer, Freeform’s teen mystery drama anthology that debuted in 2023.

Recurring on ABC’s The Goldbergs since 2020, the actress has also appeared on Netflix series Dead to Me as well as the Duplass brothers’ anthology series Room 104 on HBO.

Stanley is repped by Gersh, Thruline Entertainment and Goodman Genow.

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