The Weinstein Company has confirmed that Mikael Hafstrom's Shanghai, starring John Cusack, Gong Li and Ken Watanabe, will start shooting on May 5 in London.

The film will also shoot in Thailand, and possibly China, for a North American release on Christmas day. It was previously refused shooting permission by the Chinese authorities after spending $3m on pre-production costs in China. However The Weinstein Company still hopes to reach an agreement to shoot some scenes in the territory.

The announcement was made as part of a wider unveiling of TWC's Asian Film Fund slate, in the run-up to the release of the first project backed by the fund, The Forbidden Kingdom, this weekend. The Jackie Chan and Jet Li vehicle has its world premiere in Beijing tonight (April 16). TWC and Lionsgate open the film in 3,000 cinemas in the US on April 18.

TWC also said it is in final negotiations to lock in a director on Seven Samurai and is talking to US, European and Asian stars. It plans to shoot the film during the last quarter of 2008 for release next year.