John Woo is to direct a remake of action thriller Manhunt, based on a novel by Japanese writer Juko Nishimura, for Hong Kong-based Media Asia Films.

The novel, Kimi Yo Funnu No Kawa O Watare, was first adapted in 1976 as a Japanese film starring legendary actor Ken Takakura, who passed away last year. It was the first foreign film released in China after the Cultural Revolution.

The story follows a prosecutor who is framed for robbery and rape and sets out on a one-man mission to clear his name. Media Asia acquired the rights to the original novel from Japanese publisher Tokuma Shoten Publishing.

Woo has been a huge fan of Takakura since watching him in Yasuo Furuhata’s 1983 Station. In 2005, the Japanese actor worked with Chinese director Zhang Yimou, starring in Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles.

“When I found out that John was a huge fan of the late Ken Takakura, I immediately gave him a call, trying to convince him to direct the film for us,” said Media Asia chairman Peter Lam.

Woo said: “By chance I was mourning the loss of Takakura when Peter called and I accepted the challenge in a heartbeat.”

The action thriller will start shooting in 2015.

Media Asia’s Filmart slate also includes omnibus film Eight And A Half (working title), about the history of Hong Kong, which will include segments from Woo, Johnnie To, Tsui Hark, Ann Hui, Ringo Lam, Patrick Tam, Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping.