Tony Leung Chiu-wai will replace Chow Yun-fat in the role of Zhou Yu in John Woo's Red Cliff, producer Terence Chang and the film's investor Chengtian Entertainment confirmed this evening.

Leung was previously attached to the project in the role of Zhuge Liang, but quit in March due to scheduling conflicts. His was then replaced by Japanese-Taiwanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro.

After talking to Woo and Chang for the past three days, Leung promised he would take up the role of Zhou Yu to help Woo finish the $70m production, the biggest in the history of Chinese-language films.

'Based on my 20-year friendship and that this film is such a highly-anticipated film, I decided to return to the crew of Red Cliff,' Leung said in a statement. 'I am thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to working with Woo again.'

Now Leung will play opposite to Kaneshiro in the role of Zhou Yu. The two lead characters are rivals in the story.

Leung re-joined Red Cliff to replace Chow Yun-fat, who two days ago withdrew from the film claiming that he had received the script too late. However Chang and Woo's Lion Rock Production stated that the completion bond company had refused Chow's terms.

According to Chang, the crew is now shooting the parts for other characters and Leung will join them in Beijing at a later date. Other cast members include Chinese actors Hu Jun, Zhang Fengyi, Zhao Wei and Taiwanese actors Chang Chen and Lin Chilin.