Jan de Bont has signed on to direct live-action epic adventure Mulan starring Zhang Ziyi, which is scheduled to start shooting at China’s Hengdian studios this autumn.

The film is being co-produced by Canada’s Movie Plus Productions, Global Film Finance and Beijing-based Bona International Film Group.

Zhang Ziyi, Ling Lucas and Beaver Kwei, who jointly produced romantic comedy Sophie’s Revenge in China in 2009, are producing with Steve Waterman (Alvin & The Chipmunks), Christopher Brough, Mark Phillips, Ron Lynch and Easternlight Films’ Ying Ye. Paul Edwards, Jeffrey Chan, Fred Wang and Jeff Kranzdorf are executive producers.

Easternlight, an affiliate of Arclight Films International, will handle sales outside of the US while William Morris Endeavor will handle North American rights. Bona has exclusive distribution rights for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. 

Based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, the story follows a young woman who goes to war and ends up fighting both the enemy and discrimination within her own ranks.

De Bont’s previous films, including Speed, Twister and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life have generated more than a billion dollars in international box office. Mulan marks his first independent feature.

Mulan is the perfect opportunity to bring to the screen the ideal synthesis of western and Chinese movie making skills with both a top actress and director, each of whom is globally recognised for their commercial and artistic success in equal measure,” said Movie Plus president Christopher Brough.