Chinese action star Jet Li will be starring in fantasy period drama White Snake(tentative title) with Po-chu Chui (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Kung Fu Hustle) producing and Tony Siu-tung Ching (An Empress and theWarriors) directing.
Huang Shengyi (Kungfu Hustle), Wen Zhang (Ocean Heaven) and Hong Kong stars Raymond Lam and Charlene Choi (Storm Warriors) are also among the leading cast of the $25m film.
Shooting has started yesterday in Chongyang of Hubei province in China, the main shooting location of the film. William Suk-ping Chang will serve as production and costume designer of the film.
The story of the film is based on Chinese legend which tells about a young scholar (to be played by Raymond Lam) falling in love with a beautiful woman (Huang Shengyi), unaware that she is a white snake who has taken on human form. A monk named Fahai (Jet Li) intervenes in order to save the scholar’s soul and casts the white snake into a deep well at a pagoda.
The story was made into a film of the same title in 1962 by the Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong. In 1993, Tsui Hark, Tony Siu-tung Ching’s longtime collaborator, adapted parts of the story and made a pan-Asian hit Green Snake, starring Maggie Cheung.
The film is financed by Beijing-based China Juli Entertainment Media, which is the subsidiary company of industry conglomerate Juli Group, specializing in sling and solar Energy businesses. Juli Entertainment Media recently signed with Hong Kong and mainland directors Hu Mei (Confucius), Stanley Kwan, Zhang Yang and Zhang Jiarui on a series of film production projects.
Shooting is scheduled to finish by the end of the year and is scheduled to be released in summer 2011.