World Brief

Hong Kong’s Stephen Chow will helm, produce and star in sci-fi laffer “Yangtze River 7,” which will start shooting this month in the Chinese city of Ningbo for release in mid-2007.

Pic’s title — and the inspiration for the plot — came from China’s Shenzhou 6 space mission last year, Chow told a news confab on Thursday.

Among the backers are China Film Group, Chow’s Star Overseas group, Guangdong Zoke Culture Development, Beijing Chunqiuhong Culture Investment and Beijing PolyBona Film Distribution.

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