China Star goes epic

'City' will chart seedy enclave's history via film trilogy

Peter Jackson has really started something. Hong Kong’s China Star Entertainment is the latest company to mount a trilogy, in this case an epic saga that spans the years 1842-1987.

Budgeted around $35 million and with the working title “Walled City,” the three films will chart the 149-year history of a Kowloon enclave that became a seedy center populated by prosties, drug dealers and gambling dens.

Known as Kowloon Walled City, the lawless area was beyond the reach of the Chinese government because the Brits controlled the surrounding environs. It was demolished in 1987.

Johnnie To has expressed interest in helming the pic and one of Hong Kong’s biggest stars Andy Lau is keen to play the “Godfather” who ruled the city for many years, according to Ann Hung, general manager distribution of China Star.

The producers hope to start principal photography in September in either Shanghai or Hangzhou.

Hung says the aim is to co-produce with a Chinese studio and she hopes to clinch pre-sales to the U.S. and Europe.

It’s the second trilogy emanating from Hong Kong following Media Asia’s “Infernal Affairs” series.

Hung sees the highly ambitious “Walled City” project as a sign of rising confidence in the Hong Kong film industry, which has been in the doldrums for several years.

“We want this trilogy to be a driving force for Hong Kong films,” she says.

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