Beijing-based Dadi Century Film has confirmed that Chow Yun-fat will star in its upcoming biopic Confucius, in which he will portray the great Chinese philosopher and sage.

Chen Daoming (Hero) will portray Lao Zi, another Chinese philosopher and the founder of Taoism, who gave Confucius advice on history and the arts.

Zhou Xun (Painted Skin) is reported by China media to be the leading woman in the film, playing Nan Zi, the wife of Duke Ling of Wei. But according to Dadi Century the casting of the female roles is not yet confirmed.

Shooting of the film will start at the end of March in Beijing. The $22m (RMB150m) film is a co-production between Dadi Century Films and Chinese state-owned China Film Group Corporation. The release date is set between the end of the year and the Chinese New Year in 2010.

Apart from the Confucius biopic, Dadi Media, the mother company of Dadi Century Films, is also investing in the $14m China-UK co-produced musical The Sacrifice Of Yang Guifei.

The company is also a film distribution company and cinema investor/manager. In 2008, Dadi Media invested in more than 100 cinemas and 300 screens in China.