Hong Kong's Media Asia Films has signed a four-picture deal with start-up production outfit Base Production, headed by Hong Kong director Andrew Lau.

The first picture under the two-year deal will be $5.1m (HK$40m) thriller, I Want To Be You, set to star four previous winners of the Best Actor award at the Hong Kong Film Awards - Andy Lau (no relation to the director), Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Eric Tsang and Anthony Wong.

The film is about the conflict between two men - one a cop who goes undercover to infiltrate the triads and the other a triad pretending to be a policeman. Production starts Thursday in Hong Kong for release over the Christmas holiday period.

Media Asia also has a four-picture deal with actor Andy Lau's Teamwork Motion Pictures which was signed at the end of last year. However, the first picture to be produced under that deal - a romantic comedy with the working title City Romance, set to star Lau - has been put on hold due to a legal battle between the Hong Kong superstar and his partners in Teamwork Corp, CCT Telecom Holdings (Screendaily.com, July 4).

CCT claims that Lau breached a shareholders' agreement by signing several distribution and co-financing deals, without CCT's approval, and by participating in competing business. The company is seeking an injunction to restrain Lau from further breaching the shareholders' agreement.

The deal with Base appears to enable Media Asia to work with Lau without breaking the injunction.

"We have an agreement with Andrew Lau's production company that he will produce this film for us," said Media Asia vice chairman Nansun Shi. "We can't get involved in other people's litigation, but we can ensure that our part in this is correct."