Helmer, prod'n head looks to make films for int'l auds
Hong Kong filmmaker Gordon Chan says he’s looking to craft pics that better reflect today’s increasingly borderless world.Chan, production chief and resident director at Emperor Multimedia Group, says international buyers are playing a bigger role in the execution of current Hong Kong pics. “There’s an increasing interest in working together as partners, in developing story elements,” says Chan, who recently directed Jackie Chan (no relation) in Hong Kong’s most expensive film ever, supernatural actioner “Highbinders.” One notable example is “Thieves Like Us,” a new EMG project about a group of mischievous youngsters who break into major European museums for kicks — until their talent attracts the attention of a powerful criminal mastermind. Chan says he’s looking for a diverse international cast to play the group of kids, but adds that they could just as easily come from Hong Kong, whose own diverse ethnic makeup is rarely explored in movies. “People always see Hong Kong as a Chinese territory, but there are huge Indian communities, Jewish areas, British and German populations. It would be nice to reflect that in a film about kids from Hong Kong.” Wilson Yip (“2002,” “Skyline Cruisers”) is on board to direct the movie, currently in pre-production. Chan’s next directing project will be “Swordbearer,” a story of a master and his young apprentice who ultimately becomes more powerful than his teacher. Although it may be a timeless tale, Chan says he’s setting out to realize something completely new with the pic. Ekin Cheng (“The Stormriders”) is set to star. After the great buzz of “Highbinders,” Chan says EMG is highlighting action and supernatural fare this year. Chan says company hasn’t turned its back on dramas, but it’s gearing up for still more chopsockey: EMG is set to ink a multi-pic deal with famed fight choreographer Donnie Yen (“Blade II,” “Princess Blade”). Other films currently in EMG’s Cannes lineup include Pou Soi Cheang’s “New Blood,” about a vengeful spirit; “The Twins Effect,” in which two fighting females go after the undead on the streets of Hong Kong; “Demi-Haunted,” from Patrick Leung, about a Chinese opera singer who sees dead people; and street-racing actioner “Highspeed Saitama.”
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