Asian Bond Girl and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" lead Michelle Yeoh will soon star in a romantic kung fu thriller to start shooting in Shanghai on Oct. 30 with writer-director Su Chaopin ("Silk"), producer Terence Chang of Lion Rock Prods. told The Hollywood Reporter.
A $12 million co-production with Beijing Galloping Horse Prods., Media Asia of Hong Kong and two publicly traded Taiwan media companies, the tentatively titled "Jianyu Jianghu" can be described, Chang said, as " 'Face/Off' meets 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' set in the Ming Dynasty."
Chang will produce with his filmmaking partner, Hong Kong-based director John Woo. Hong Kong-based sales company Fortissimo will represent the film in the international marketplace.
"It's great to have the opportunity to work again with John and Terence, who as producers have once again assembled a fantastic team -- from the stellar cast, including Michelle Yeoh, to the director to the crew," Fortissimo co-chairman Michael Werner said.
Galloping Horse, perhaps best known for the hit Chinese TV series "Three Kingdoms," has put up half the financing for the film that is part of a first-look deal it has with Lion Rock for projects shooting in China.
In the film, whose tentative title loosely translates as "Rain of Swords in the Martial Arts World," Malaysian Chinese star Yeoh plays an assassin who falls in love with the son of a man whose father was killed by her gang. Unaware that he also is a trained martial artist, their love blossoms and then tensions rise as the past comes back to haunt them.
"Every actress in Asia wanted this lead role," Chang said, noting that his friendship with Yeoh stretches back 30 years.
The project also is set to star Korean actor Jung Woo-Song ("The Good, the Bad, the Weird") as the male lead, Chinese actor Wang Xueqi ("Forever Enthralled") and popular Taiwanese singer and television actress Barbie Hsu, among others.
Director Su will begin shooting at the Shanghai Song Jiang Shen Qiang studio, move to the Hengdian World Studios outside the city, then over to Taiwan, where a quarter of the film will be made.
"Jianyu Jianghu" is set to be completed for a late-summer 2010 release.