Hong Kong-born director StanleyTong has announced that he plans to start shooting $25m period drama, The Legend Of Mulan, in October withbacking from Beijing-based Starlight Media.

The news follows theannouncement that Harvey and Bob Weinstein are in negotiations with Zhang Ziyito star in a Mulan project that is being developed by Shanghai-based MeridianPictures. Both projects have been in development for a few years.

Shanghai-based Tong hasco-written his version with Lin Haishu, scriptwriter of his previous film The Myth which starred Jackie Chan. Likethe Meridian Pictures project, it is based on the Chinese folk tale, made worldfamous by the Disney animation, about a girl who disguises herself as a man tohonour her father in battle.

Tong's project was approvedby the Film Bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television(SARFT) in March. Locations will include Yunnan and Xinjiang in China, as well as Canada, and the film is scheduled to wrap in Feb 2007. Thecast has yet to be announced

Tong stressed that The Legend Of Mulan would be a filmemploying mainly Chinese crew and professionals with special effects handled byHong Kong-based DCDC, which last year set up a base in Zhuhai, Guangdongprovince. DCDC also did visual effectsfor The Myth.

Starlight Media's creditsinclude romantic drama A Time To Lovestarring Vicky Zhao Wei which was released last year. The company also recentlywrapped contemporary romance Love In TheCity, directed by Jingle Ma and starring Shawn Yue and Gao Yuanyuan.

Tong is also working onanother project, entitled Diaries, aboutthe Nanking massacre during World War II. The $30m film is basedon the diaries of Japanese and German soldiers who witnessed the atrocities.

The project is led by Tong'smainland China venture, Hong Kong China Media Group, which is finalisingco-production deals with companies from Japan, Germany and the US. Shooting is scheduled to start at the end of 2006.