Edko (Beijing) Management and Consulting Ltd, the Beijing-based subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Edko Films, has announced that it is co-producing the film with Shanghai Film Group and Beijing New Times Film Culture and Development.
Yuen directed the 1978 martial arts action title Drunken Fist, which propelledJackie Chanfrom being a virtual unknown to an action star. However, Yuen has not directed a film for the past 12 years, during which time he has been known asan action director, with credits including the Matrix film series and the two Kill Bill films.
Set in the Qing Dynasty, True Legend tells the story of So Chan, a wealthy man obsessed with kung-fu, who fell from grace to become a beggar after he and his family became the victims of conspiracies. He later transformed himself into a martial arts master, patriot and folk hero, honoured as the 'King of Beggars'.
The same story has been previously adapted into several films and TV dramas including Yuen's 1993 film So Hat-yi andGordon Chan's1992 King Of Beggars, starring Stephen Chow.
Chiu (Once Upon A Time In China 4, The Legend Of Fong Sai-Yuk) will portray the master So Chan, while Jay Chou will play a master who inspired So during his time of frustration. Zhou Xun will play So's wife and Chinese actor Guo Xiaodong will play So's opponent. Michelle Yeoh's character is yet to be announced, according to Yuen at a press conference in Beijing.
The film startedshooting last month in Huang Shan of Anhui Province and Beijing. The release date is set for mid-2009.
In addition to True Legend, Edko Films is also producing Tian Zhuangzhuang's Warrior And The Wolf for 2009 release. Maggie Q and Japanese actor Jo Odagiri co-star in the historical action drama. Edko is co-producing the film with Japan's Ogura Jimusyo Co, China's Perfect World Culture and Singapore-based MediaCorp Raintree Pictures.