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Huayi Brothers unveils slate headed by Detective Dee prequel

China’s Huayi Brothers Media has unveiled a slate of eight new productions for 2012, headed by Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee prequel and Tai Chi II: Rise Of A Hero, the second film in a trilogy directed by Stephen Fung.

The Detective Dee project is a prequel to Tsui’s Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame, starring Andy Lau, which was a hit at the Chinese box office in 2010. Scheduled to start shooting in July, the fantasy action drama will make heavy use of special effects.

Fung has already started shooting Tai Chi II, while the first film in the martial arts and steam-punk trilogy, Tai Chi 0, will be released at the end of 2012. The sequel will be produced by filmmaker and Huayi production executive Chen Kuo-fu with Sammo Hung as action director and Tim Yip as art director.

Cast for the two big-budget productions has yet to be announced.

Following their collaboration on Painted Skin II, Huayi will also work with filmmaker Wuershan on his latest fantasy action film, tentatively titled The Creation Of Gods: Battle Of The Dragons, which is at script stage.

The Chinese studio is also working with Hong Kong director Kenneth Bi on a crime thriller, which it will co-produce with partner company Divergence, founded by actors Stephen Fung and Daniel Wu.

Huayi also confirmed that it will be working with Taiwanese filmmaker Doze Niu on a gangster film, following their successful collaboration on Valentines’ Day hit Love, and is also lining up romantic comedies from Hong Kong’s Pang Ho-cheung (Love In The Buff) and mainland China’s Teng Hua-tao (Love Is Not Blind).

Huayi is also co-producing Mr. Go 3D, directed by Kim Yong-hwa, with Korea’s Showbox Mediaplex, which was announced by the Korean studio last week.

Meanwhile, Huayi Brothers also announced that it has set up a strategic partnership with telco China Telecom for a series of micro movies (short films). China Telecom has 120 million mobile subscribers and 68 million internet subscribers.

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