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Chinese thesps take seats at ‘Banquet’

$15 mil period pic to star Zhang, Ge

HONG KONG — Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang and actor Ge You will lead the cast of “Banquet,” a big-budget drama by Feng Xiaogang (Daily Variety, June 16).

The period pic, loosely inspired by “Hamlet,” is a $15 million effort bankrolled by ambitious private-sector players the Huayi Brothers and Hong Kong’s Media Asia. Huayi had previously considered Japanese and South Korean partners, but it has turned to Media Asia, which repped Feng’s “A World Without Thieves” as co-financier and foreign sales agent.

Cast includes Hong Kong-based star Daniel Wu (“Around the World in 80 Days”), Huang Xiaoming and Ma Jingwu. Pic will go before cameras in mid-September.

Ge, winner of actor honor at Cannes in 1994 for Zhang Yimou’s “To Live,” is a Feng regular. He has appeared in six of the director’s pictures including “Big Shot’s Funeral” and “Cell Phone.”

Zhang will next be seen in Japanese helmer Seijun Suzuki’s “Princess Racoon” (Operatta Tanuki Goten) and Rob Marshall’s “Memoirs of a Geisha,” for Spyglass Entertainment.

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