Taiwanese heartthrob Fan Chih Wei will topline the cast of Singapore first-time director Roy Lim's Untold Beauty which will begin shooting this Wednesday (Dec 5) after a change in investors.

Lim's Moving On is now producing the $689,500 (S$1m) supernatural romance Mandarin-language picture with MediaCorp Raintree Pictures. Other new investors include Hwa Yea Multimedia and RAM Entertainment. Both are film distributors from Malaysia.

Shooting Gallery Motion Pictures which originally was a co-producer has exited the project while international sales are no longer handled by Korea 's Core Studio which has since closed down. What remains is the deal with Wild Side Films, making it still the first Singapore film to be pre-sold to France based on a script.

'Untold Beauty has one of the most unusual premises for a movie,' said Daniel Yun, executive producer and managing director of Raintree, who believes Roy Lim could join the stable of directors breaking through from Asia into the global arena.

A film buyer-turned-filmmaker, Lim co-wrote the story with Violet Kwan (Singapore exhibitor-distributor Cathay 's acquisition manager) and Loh Eng Leong.

'I will use the most realistic way to showcase the detailed techniques of both [embalming and post-mortem] trades. Supported by bittersweet romance, this film will definitely fear and tear,' said Lim.

Fan, nominated for a Golden Horse best actor for Chang Tso-chi's Best Of Times and who more recently appeared in Wong Kar Wai's Cannes short film I Travelled 9,000km To Give It To You, plays a young man who inherits the family trade of embalming.

Bound by a code of ethics, he is nonchalant about death until his childhood sweetheart falls ill and subsequently passes away. Rising MediaCorp TV actress Jesseca Liu will make her film debut as Fan's love interest.

DoP is Daniel Low who recently worked on Royston Tan's box office hit 881 and music producer is renowned regional music composer Li Fei Hui.

A release in the third quarter of 2008 is expected.