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John Woo to direct China's biggest budget film

HONG Kong director John Woo will shoot China's biggest budget movie ever about the alliance between China and the United States in World War II.

The director, recognized for his stylized films and highly choreographed action sequences, has signed a contract to direct the film with the Publicity Department of Yunnan Provincial Party Committees, Xinhua News Agency reported today.

The movie, a joint Sino-US production with a budget of US$100 million, will be about the Flying Tigers, the legendary US air squadron, which fought alongside China in World War II.

The friendship of the two peoples, culture, justice and courage will be the themes, Woo said. He described the new production as one of his most important works.

Preparations for the production are almost complete and the director will start shooting in December.

Woo intends to create some major battle sequences in Kunming, Yunnan's provincial capital, central China's Hunan Province and north China's Henan Province.

Though Woo didn't name any actors for the film, he said the cast will include Chinese and Hollywood stars.

Hollywood will have a stake in the movie which will be sold internationally, according to Woo.

The American Volunteer Group, nicknamed the Flying Tigers by people in China, was formed in 1941 under the leadership of US General Claire Lee Chennault. Their mission was to help China drive out the invading Japanese army.

Woo's last production, the two "Red Cliffs" films - about an ancient Chinese battle - made about 550 million yuan (US$73.18 million) in ticket sales on the Chinese mainland.

It was the most expensive Asian production ever, according to the Hollywood trade publication Variety.

Woo's Hollywood hits include Hard Target, Broken Arrow, Face/Off, and Mission: Impossible 2.


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