Emperor’s CEO helms Chan pic

Replaces Hudlin, who ankled $35 mil action-laffer

HOLLYWOOD — Film production company Emperor Multimedia Group has tapped its own CEO, Hong Kong helmer Gordon Chan (“Fist of Legend”), to direct upcoming pic “Highbinders,” which stars Jackie Chan.

Gordon Chan replaces helmer Reginald Hudlin (“The Ladies Man”), who recently ankled the project (Daily Variety, May 22).

With a $35 million budget, “Highbinders” has been touted as the most expensive pic in Hong Kong movie history. But EMG’s associate producer Bey Logan denies allegations that the film’s funding was ever in jeopardy and credits Hudlin’s departure to “creative differences.”

“We had hoped to cooperate with a Hollywood director on the project,” said Logan. “Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with Reggie (Hudlin) and the other directors that we wanted proved unavailable.”

An action comedy, “Highbinders” centers on an immigration officer who is killed on the job but returns from the dead with superpowers.

Pic begins lensing July 16 and shoots in Hong Kong and Ireland. EMG said a U.S. distribution deal is in the works.