China's leading privateproduction company Huayi Brothers has unveiled a high-profile slate ofproductions headed by $20m period epic Battle Of Wisdom.
Hong Kong star Andy Lau isheading the cast of the film which is scheduled to start shooting this Octoberwith Hong Kong's Jacob Cheung directing. According to Huayi president JamesWang, Battle has already beenpre-sold to unnamed Japanese and Korean companies.
Based on a popular Japanesemanga, Battle Of Wisdom is basedon events during China's Warring States period.
Huayi co-produced two of thebiggest hits in China last year - Kung-fu Hustle and A World Without Thieves. It's an active co-producer with US and Hong Kongcompanies and last year sold a 35% stake to Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's TomGroup.
According to Wang, who isattending Cannes for the first time this year, Huayi will focus on a handful ofbigger-budget productions over the next year. "The China market is growing butit still can't support a large number of domestic releases," said Wang.
Huayi's next production willbe period drama The Ghost Inside, starring Hong Kong's Leon Lai and Taiwaneseactress Rene Liu are set to star in the film to be directed by up-and-comingmainland director Teng Hua-tao (Sky Of Love, 100'). The story revolves around a young filmmaker whoappears to be grieving over the death of his former girlfriend. Production isscheduled to start in Shanghai in July.
Also on Huayi's slate is acontemporary war movie from China's leading mainstream director, Feng Xiaogang,whose credits include A World Without Thieves. Based on a true story, the as-yet-untitled projectis set in China between 1948 and the 1950s and involves part of the Korean war.However, Feng is expected to shoot another comedy before starting work on thefilm, which represents a change in both genre and scale for the director.