Hong Kong filmmaker Andrew Lau, who was behind the three Infernal Affairs films, is lining up a second trilogy, this time based on the Chinese classic novel, Water Margin.

Hong Kong-based Media Asia Films is backing and will sell the films, each budgeted at around $25m, with the first expected to go before the cameras at the end of next year.

Lau will produce the trilogy and direct the first installment. Fellow leading Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To will direct the second and it has yet to be decided who will direct the third.

Water Margin , which has been adapted into films, TV series and video games across Asia, tells the story of 108 outlaws who form a fierce resistance movement to overthrow the government in 1119AD.

China Film Group is expected to come on board as co-producer and Lau said he hopes to shoot the trilogy at the state-owned giant's vast studio complex which is being constructed outside Beijing.

'I want to re-create the old Shaw Brothers style of film-making where they built and shot everything inside a studio,' Lau told Screendaily.

Lau and US producer Tony Krantz recently concluded a deal produce three Asian-themed, English-language films for The Weinstein Company.

Lau's next producing project is Taiwan-backed feature and TV series Api Sword which he plans to start shooting in China at the beginning of next year.