John Woo and Terence Chang’s Lion Rock Productions has decided to abandon shooting epic drama 1949 due to a dispute over the script rights.
Chang confirmed the move to Screendaily today, saying ‘it’s an unfortunate decision’. He has also informed the actors attached to the film, including Korean star Seong Hye-gyo and Taiwanese idol Chang Chen.
Now that the major cast has been let go, Chang implied that it’s unlikely that Woo will pick up the project again even if the dispute is settled.
Announced at Cannes last year, 1949 is scripted by Wang Hui-ling (Lust, Caution) and was intended as Woo’s next directing project following Chinese-language epic Red Cliff. At the time, China Film Group and Taiwanese company Ya-shih Films were on board as investors and Fortissimo Films acquired worldwide rights outside China.
However, in recent months Lion Rock became involved in a dispute over the script rights with Ya-shih Films, which had acquired the script two years ago.
It’s understood that Ya-shih is now preparing the project to be made into a TV drama in Taiwan. The Taipei-based company also released a statement saying it will continue to look for a suitable director to make a film version.
Intended as an epic love story, 1949 is set against the back-drop of the Second World War and the final years of China’s civil war prior to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
Chang said Woo has recently been focusing all his attention on the film and does not have any plans for future projects.
Meanwhile, Chang also confirmed that Lion Rock is joining forces with China Film and Korean filmmaker Kim Jong-hak to co-produce a 3D fantasy film.
The as-yet-untitled film is adapted from Chinese classic text Shan Hai Jing (Collections Of The Mountains And Seas), about a war between humans, evil spirits and deities in order to get hold of a magic bell. Kim will direct the Chinese-language film which is currentlyin development.
Jean Noh in Seoul contributed to this report.