Hong Kong filmmaker sets U.S. debut

Chan to direct romantic comedy for Universal

Making his U.S. helming debut, Hong Kong producer-director-writer Peter Chan is set to direct the romantic comedy “Susie and Hercules” for Universal Pictures.

Jerry Zucker will produce the pic, for which David Michael Wieger, Robert Caswell, Robert Gordon and Robert Harling have all written drafts. Harling did the final draft, which is being submitted for casting.

“Susie and Hercules” is a “Bringing Up Baby”-like story of a guy who doesn’t believe in love and a woman who is a devout disciple.

Pic tells the story of a hardened, cynical divorce attorney who is forced to take a pro bono case representing a passionate primatologist who is trying to reunite two separated gorillas. During the courtroom hijinx, the attorney and gorilla caretaker fall in love.

Universal has begun seeking a cast for the pic, which is slated to begin production in April.

Universal senior VP Allison Brecker is overseeing the project for the studio.

Chan has helmed such critically acclaimed Hong Kong pics as “He’s a Man, She’s a Woman” (which he also wrote and produced) and its sequel “Who’s the Woman, Who’s the Man,” “Comrades: Almost a Love Story” and “Age of Miracles.”

Execs at Universal were keen on Chan after seeing “Comrades: Almost a Love Story,” which took the best director nod for Chan and best picture at the 1996 Hong Kong Film Awards. Chan won the 1994 best director and best film award at the 1994 Hong Kong Directors Guild honors.

Chan grew up in the Chinese community of Bangkok and came to the United States in 1980 to study. After working as second assistant director on John Woo’s “Heroes Shed No Tears” in 1991, Chan made his directorial debut with “Alan and Eric: Between Hello and Goodbye” for Impact Films.

Chan was repped on the deal by Endeavor. He is managed by Andre Morgan.

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