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Operatic struggle over China biopic

China Film Group being sued over contract

BEIJING — Chinese helmer Chen Kaige’s biopic of opera star Mei Lanfang is set to bow Dec. 12, although there are a few contractual legal hurdles to be dealt with first.

China Film Group, which is backing the Zhang Ziyi and Leon Lai starrer, is being sued in a court in Beijing’s Haidian district by co-producer Milimeter over breach of contract regarding rights to the pic.

China Film said it was confident the pic would be released as scheduled.

Milimeter said it holds the copyright to “Mei Lanfang” and signed a contract with China Film to co-produce back in 2004.

Three years later the two sides signed another deal, under which demands the rights had to be transferred to China Film first before shooting began.

There also have been reports that Mei’s family is unhappy that Hong Kong thesp Gillian Chung’s role in the movie has not been cut. Chung was involved in a scandal involving the publication of sex photos.

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