Columbia Pictures has come on to co-produce “Gone With The Bullets,” a big-budget comedy actioner by top Chinese director Jiang Wen.
The picture, to be presented in 3D, is now shooting in the China Film Group studios in Huairou near Beijing. The cast is headed by Jiang and China’s iconic thesp Ge You. Supporting cast is also stellar including Zhou Xun Zhou Yun (“Let The Bullets Fly,” “Bodyguard and Assassins”), Shu Qi (“China Zodiac,” “Love”), and Wen Zhang.
Release in China is set for December next year through Jiang’s production and distribution outfit Buyilehu. Sony Pictures Releasing International has international rights and has not yet set a release date.
“Gone With The Bullets,” is the second film in the “Bullets” trilogy that began with the 2010 hit feature “Let The Bullets Fly.” That picture grossed $140 million worldwide, including RMB 720m ($118 million) in China.
The picture is supposedly based on a true story about two men who in the 1920s establish a notorious beauty pageant called the Flowers Competition. All of Shanghai’s elite attend the gala event, but the announcement of an unexpected winner sets into motion a series of tragic events that change their destinies.
“As both an actor and a filmmaker, Jiang is well respected in China and around the world, and we think audiences will respond to ‘Gone with the Bullets’ just as strongly as they did to ‘Let the Bullets Fly’,” said Doug Belgrad, President of Columbia Pictures.
Keith Young has been tapped as the action choreographer, and Pixomondo (“Hugo”) is handling the visual effects.
Production in Huairou began on Oct. 2 and will later take in Shanghai, Fujian and Inner Mongolia.
Sony was one of the first Hollywood studios to make films in China since the industry reforms of 2001, and was closely involved in 2000 breakout “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” It has been part of some 20 Chinese-language co-productions, including Jiang’s 2003 “Warriors of Heaven and Earth.”
The studio is currently reviving its development activities and is developing a slate of films in China, according to Dede Nickerson, head of production and strategic development at Sony Pictures China, who spoke last week at the U.S.-China Film Summit in Los Angeles.