The London and New York University-educated Alexi Tan, discovered by Woo and Chang, is making his feature debut with the $10m Chinese-language project, shot all on location in Shanghai.
The Hong Kong/Taiwan/China co-production stars Liu Ye (Curse of the Golden Flower), Daniel Wu (The Banquet), and Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) with Shu Qi (My Wife Is a Gangster 3) and Tony Yang (Formula 17).
The film takes place in flourishing 1930s Shanghai, where three innocent young men - played by Ye, Wu and Yang - arrive in search of a better life. Each is forced on a different path in the criminal underworld of the decadent city. Wu's character falls for the starry-eyed Lulu, played by Shu Qi, and also befriends Mark (Chang Chen), a charismatic enforcer tormented by his past. W hen a forbidden love affair is exposed, f riends turn against friends, and brother against brother.
Currently in post-production, the film also marks John Woo's comeback as a producer in Asia, after years in Hollywood. Woo and Chang have previously collaborated on hits like Mission Impossible II and Face/Off.
Asian theatrical release is set for August 2007. Hua Yi holds Chinese rights and CMC holds rights for Taiwan and will distribute through Fox.
The deal was brokered between CMC Executive Producer Chin Wen Huang, Lion Rock's Terence Chang and Fortissimo co-chairman Michael J. Werner.
Chang says, 'Fortissimo is best in handling commercial films with artistic merit, or artistic films with commercial appeal. I am glad Blood Brothers is in safe hands.'
'With Blood Brothers, we see in Alexi the mood and style and focus of a young director intent on making a bold, commercial and entertaining film and we are thrilled to share that experience with him,' says Werner.
Woo and Chang are also collaborating on the remake of The Killer, and the historical epic Red Cliff.