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Chan takes ‘High’ road for EMG

Action pic will be studio's first attempt at U.S. market

HONG KONG — Jackie Chan has signed on to a $40 million movie project produced by Emperor Movie Group (EMG) tentatively titled “The Highbinders.”

Project will precede sci-fier “The Terracotta Warrior,” a proposed EMG production that Chan was mulling in June. Lensing on new pic is slated to begin in Australia next September.

Chan, who’ll shoot the “Rush Hour” sequel this November, says the scribe, director and cast of “The Highbinders” are all Americans, though he declined to reveal names because some contracts are not finalized.

“The Highbinders” will be EMG’s first attempt to break into the American film market, according to company head Gordon Chan. “The most important step I am trying to take is to turn EMG from a local production company into an Asian production house. We are in the process of setting up an office in L.A.,” he said. “We will introduce some English (language) features and really try to get into the American market.”

Second project will be “Manhattan Midnight,” a $3 million romantic thriller written and directed by EMG exec Alfred Cheung that features an American cast, including Richard Grieco. Shooting on the digital film will start in New York in November.

Chan says EMG plans to produce 25 films in the next two years, over half with budgets of $2.6 million.

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