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Renny Harlin to Shoot ‘Legend of the Ancient Sword’ for Alibaba

Top action film director Renny Harlin is to make Chinese-language action fantasy film “Legend of the Ancient Sword” as his next picture. Production and Chinese distribution is through Alibaba Pictures Group, the film making arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The film is already in pre-production ahead of principal photography that is scheduled to start in October.

The film is derived from a 3D role playing video game originally developed by Shanghai Aurogon and published in 2010 by Gamebar. A TV series was previously produced.

Alibaba purchased rights to the second game and has plans to turn it into both a TV series and a possible three movie series. Harlin is connected only with the feature movies.

Alibaba Pictures did not disclose the budget but described the film as “substantial by Chinese standards.” It likened the project to the “Harry Potter” franchise.

“This is a big, epic fantasy adventure,” Harlin told Variety. “My ambition is to integrate this Chinese property with Hollywood story telling and visual effects and to introduce new fighting techniques.”

Harlin recently completed the Jackie Chan-starring action adventure “Skiptrace,” which will be released in Chinese theaters on July 22.

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