EXCLUSIVE: China’s Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co (BGH) is unveiling an ambitious new production slate at Filmart, headed by John Woo’s next film as director, which is scheduled to start shooting in mid-May.

Scripted by Wang Huiling (Lust, Caution), the as-yet-untitled romantic epic follows six characters and their intertwining love stories set against the backdrop of 1940s Taiwan and Shanghai. BGH is producing the $30m film along with Woo and Terence Chang’s Lion Rock Productions, China Film Group and Zhejiang Huace Film & TV.

The cast will include Zhang Ziyi and Korean actress Song Hye-kyo, who both recently starred in Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster. The producers are also in talks with Andy Lau and Tong Dawei.

“It’s the same story we’ve been working on for six years although it keeps getting better and better,” Chang told Screen. “It involves recreating battles from World War II and the Chinese Civil War, along with an historical incident from the 1940s when a ship sunk off the coast near Shanghai.”

Digital Domain, which BGH and India’s Reliance MediaWorks jointly acquired last year, will work on the film’s visual effects.

BGH vice chairman Ivy Zhong added that the film is one of a slate of around eight Chinese-language films that the company is producing this year. BGH has also established an international sales arm, headed by Ronan Wong, which will handle the entire slate including Woo’s film.

The slate also includes movie adaptations of two top-rating Chinese TV series: The Legend Of Zhen Huan, about Qing Dynasty palace intrigue; and war drama Soldier Ge Erdan.

BGH is also developing action comedy Get Rio, scripted by Shu Ping and directed by Wei Xiao, who are both regular collaborators with Jiang Wen.

The company is also developing English-language action adventure Two-Gun Cohen (working title) about a British adventurer who became aide-de-camp to Sun Yat-sen.

Zhong is currently looking for a new director for the project after Doug Liman had to drop out due to other commitments.