Yen to star in ‘Skin’

Chin to co-produce supernatural actioner

SHANGHAI – Donnie Yen is to star in “Painted Skin,” a rare Chinese supernatural actioner being put together as a China-Singapore co-production.

The $10 million budget period pic is to be jointly helmed by Wilson Yip Wai-shun (who previously directed Yen in “Dragon Tiger Gate,” and Andy Chin Wing-keung (“Dragon Chronicles”.) Chin and Yen also produce.

Pic will lense in China in the final quarter of this year or early 2008, with dates likely dependent on sked of as yet uncast female lead. Pic also features Singapore’s Qi YuWu “(Home Song Stories”.) With large digital effects quotient, pic is skedded fro delivery end 2008.

Story about a love hate relationship between a vixen spirit and a group of humans is adapted from series of Chinese classic stories “Strange Tales of Liaozhai.”

Production was initiated by Beijing Time Entertainment, which brought on board Singapore’s MediaCorp Raintree Pictures and from China Ningxia Film Studio, Beijing New Film Association, Beijing Ding Long Da Media and Shanghai Film Group and Salon Films from Hong Kong as investor partners. Array of Chinese partners means that pic will qualify as mainland production and be eligible of local release.

World sales will be handled by Hong Kong-based facilities group Salon. Beijing Time will handle Chinese theatrical release, while Raintree has taken rights in Singapore and Malaysia.

Production design is by Chung Man-yee with Tung Wai signed up as action director.

Ghosts feature prominently in Chinese literature, but rarely make it to the big screen. Censors have long frowned on the genre for fear it will upset the masses. Helmer Teng Huatao and private sector production house Huayi Brothers recently delivered China’s first full on ghost story “The Matrimony” (Variety review, May 15, 2007) which played at Tribeca fest.

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