Hong Kong production outfit Hippopotamus Films has signed China's Wang Wenjie to play the lead role in Antony Szeto's Wushu.

Golden Network Asia is handling international sales on the $1.5m contemporary coming-of-age martial arts drama which is expected to shoot in China later this year.

The story follows a teen trying to regain his skills in wushu while he mends a broken relationship with his father. The script has been described as a martial arts 'Billy Elliot'.

The 18-year-old Wang, a graduate of a top wushu school in China, has travelled on overseas tours to perform martial arts and won the prestigious Feiying First Class Best Actor award for a role in a TV series.

He has recently signed up with talent agent China Kingway Communications who will represent him in China.

Wushu has the endorsement of the State General Administration of Sport and the China Wushu Federation, while Hippopotamus is talking to the Chinese Olympics committee for their official backing, according to producer Colette Koo.

Szeto, a graduate of the Beijing Sport University, won an ASDA award for his feature debut Dragon Blade, a martial arts animation.