Emperor, Herald team on Asian basketball actioner

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Picture and Japan’s Kadokawa Herald Pictures have boarded Asian basketball actioner “Slam Dunk.” Pic’s full court press includes high-profile cast and crew from the “Curse of the Golden Flower” team.

The live-action adaptation of one of the bestselling manga comics of all time will be helmed by Kevin Chu Yin Ping (“Expect a Miracle”). Production gets under way next week with lensing in studios in Shanghai and on location in Taiwan for winter 2008 release.

With a production budget of $10 million, pic is being touted as the most expensive Taiwan-originated movie of all time. It is set up as a co-production of Taiwan’s Chang Hong Channel Group and Shanghai Film & Television Group.

Financing was assembled through local pre-sales and Taiwan government coin. EMP grabs Hong Kong and Macau rights, Kadokawa takes Japan, Malaysian companies PMP Entertainment and Hua Yea Multimedia jointly acquire rights in Malaysia and Singapore, while P.T. Teguh Bakti Mandiri takes Indonesia.

Finance plan calls for an international sales agent to be appointed in a few months.

Cast is headed by Taiwanese pop and “Curse” star Jay Chou, alongside Charlene Choi (“Twins Effect”) and Chen Bo-lin (“A Chinese Tall Story”). Yee Chung Man, nominated for an Oscar for her costume design of “Curse,” is pegged as art director, while Tony Ching Siu Tung, action director on “Curse” and “House of Flying Daggers,” and “Curse” cinematographer Zhao Xiao Ding reprise those roles.

The 31-volume manga “Suramudanku,” about a high school basketball team, was written by Takehiko Inoue and sold more than 100 million copies in Japan alone. In the early 1990s, Toei Animation produced a 101-episode anime series, followed by four animated movies.

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