Cast, budget not yet set; pic to being lensing in Nov.

HONG KONG — Mandarin Films has lined up actor-director Donnie Yen to helm “The Gate of the Dragon and Tiger,” based on the long-running comicbook series.

Yen was action director on Dante Lam’s “The Twins Effect” and appeared in David Dobkin’s “Shanghai Knights” and Zhang Yimou’s “Hero.”

While the cast and budget have not been confirmed, shooting begins in November.

Mandarin will begin shooting its Chinese New Year comedy “In-laws, Outlaws” in August. The holiday, in January or February depending on the year, is a lucrative time for the local box office. Pic is based on a long-running television series of the same name in China. The $1.28 million production will be directed by Clifton Ko and star Eric Tsang, Lydia Sum and Anthony Wong. It follows a family as the sons become romantically involved with non-local women.

Mandarin is awaiting approval from mainland authorities to begin shooting the movie in the southern city of Guangzhou. It is a co-production of Mandarin Films, Guangdong Television Broadcasting and CC & E Communications, a Guangzhou-based advertising group.

Mandarin’s $10 million “The Sword Searchers,” to be directed by Tony Ching, has postponed shooting from August until April after the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome postponed location scouting in China.

“City of SARS,” a trio of stories reflecting on the impact of the outbreak, will open in China on Aug. 8, with Hong Kong dates still to be determined.

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