Maggie Q will headline “The Warrior and the Wolf,” a historical actioner being helmed by Chinese director Tian Zhuangzhuang.

The “Live Free or Die Hard” and “Mission Impossible III” thesp steps into a role previously linked with Tang Wei, the mainland actress who was banned from Chinese screens after her risque turn in Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution.”

Pic, a combat epic about two warriors in ancient China, has begun shooting in Xinjiang province with an eye to a late 2009 release. It also stars Japan’s Joe Odagiri (“Tokyo Tower”) and Taiwan’s Tou Chung-hua (“Lust, Caution.)

Tian, director of “The Blue Kite,” is a fifth-generation helmer who rose to prominence after China’s cultural revolution and was himself prevented from directing for several years. He most recently directed “The Go Master.”

“Wolf” is a co-production between Edko Films of Hong Kong, Japan’s Ogura Jimusyo Co., China’s Perfect World Culture and MediaCorp Raintree Pictures in Singapore.

International sales representation has yet to be finalized.