Cult Japanese director Takashi Miike - who unveiled hislatest bloodcurdling epic Izo in Venice last week - is to make the jumpinto English-language film-making.

Miike hassigned up to direct Dragon's Fin Soup, an adaptation of the novella byThai writer S.P. Somtow for Paris-based production and distribution outfit, DesFilms. The film is a fantasy comedy, telling of an encounter between anAmerican ex-pat, a young Chinese woman living in Chinatown and a dragon. Nosales agent has yet been appointed for the film.

The project was initiated by Jean-Pierre Dionnet and Akiko Funatsu, thepartners in Des Films. Dionnet, a cartoonist and TV presenter as well as aproducer, has championed the work of Asian filmmakers in France. Funatsuco-produced one of Miike's best-known and most controversial earlier films, IchiThe Killer.

The ever-prolific Miike's commitments permitting (he is also attached to directHarry Potter-style vampire film The Big Spook War), shooting willbegin in Bangkok later in the year with American, Asian and European actors allthrown in the mix. Casting will be confirmed shortly.

"We are working very hard on the script and we want to shoot in thesummer," Dionnet told

Miike has most recently been at work on Demon Pond, the first play hehas ever directed. Produced by Akiko Funatsu, the play will be performed inTokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. Its cast features several actors who have worked withMiike before, Shinki Takeda, Kenichi Endo and Tetsuro Tambo among them.

The hard-working Japanese director also contributed a short film, Box,to three-part portmanteau picture Three...Extremes. Fortissimo sold USrights to the film to Lions Gate during the Venice last week.