Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures and Beijing-based Le Vision Pictures are joining forces to produce a murder mystery that will reunite Hong Kong director Lo Chi-leung and producer Derek Yee.

The as-yet-untitled $12m project has been quietly in pre-production outside Shanghai for the past few months. The cast will be headed by Hong Kong stars Nicholas Tse and Lau Ching-wan and up-and-coming mainland Chinese actress Yang Me.

Principal photography is scheduled to start this month for a summer 2012 release. Distribution in China will be handled by Le Vision Pictures, while EMP will handle sales and distribution for the rest of the world.

The period thriller marks the first time that Lo and Yee have worked together in more than a decade following their successful collaboration on films such as Viva Erotica (1996), Double Tap (2000) and Inner Senses (2002).

Le Vision Pictures is the recently-established production arm of Chinese online video company LeTV. The ambitious company recently hired Zhang Zhao, the former CEO of Enlight Pictures, to head up its production activities.  

“Films like Inner Senses and Double Tap have pushed the boundaries of their particular genres and were truly cutting-edge in their time. We are confident this new production will be a worthy successor to their previous works,” said EMP CEO Albert Lee.