BUSAN — Korean star Song Hye-kyo, Vivian Wu and Shawn Dou star in “The Queens,” a contemporary Chinese rom-com in the vein of “Tiny Times” or “So Young.”
Like “So Young,” which was directed by actress Vicky Zhao, “The Queens” is the directorial debut of actress Annie Yi (“The Assassins,” “Good Men, Good Women”.)
Production is by Ann An, whose Desen Media was among the producers of “Tiny Times,” and the “Ip Man” features, and which is currently preparing a wartime epic “Moon Flower of Flying Tigers,” with Hollywood’s Paula Wagner.
“Queens,” currently in post-production, arrives at the Busan market handled by Easternlight, the specialty Asian arm of Australian-U.S. sales and production finance group Arclight Films.
The story involves three cosmopolitan women – an actress, a PR specialist and a gallery manager – wrestling with the ups and downs of their romantic lives. Along the way they manipulate friends, embarrass their enemies and try to show the world who is queen in the game of love.
The technical package is first rate. Cinematography is by Mark Lee (“In the Mood for Love”); sound designer is Taiwan’s Du Tuu Chih; film editor is Korea’s Hah Sung Won (“Christmas in August,” “A Moment to Remember”); production designer is Hong Kong’s Second Chan (“Iron Man 3” “Kung Fu Hustle”).
Other cast include Joe Chen, Vivian Wu (“The Joy Luck Club,” “8 ½ Women”), Shawn Dou (“Under the Hawthorn Tree,” “Wolf Totem”), Jerry Yang, Jiang Wu, Zheng Yuan Chang, and Qin Hao.
Desen is aiming to for a release next month on Nov. 11, known as ‘Singles’ Day’ in China.
“We want to present the mystery, desires, sorrows, and pain of urban relationships,” said An.
“The recent trend of adept actors-turned-directors such as Zhao Wei and Wang Leehom has proven very successful in the current market. Nick Cheung’s ‘Ghost Rituals,’ showcasing in BIFF this year is another recent example,” said Elliot Tong, head of Asian sales and acquisitions for Arclight.
Song is a leading example of the Korean film, TV and music stars who have made the successful transition to stardom in China. She recently appeared in Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster” and next appears in John Woo’s “The Crossing,” which is set for a peak season release this December.
Chinese films previously handled by Easternlight include Nicolas Cage-starring “Outcast,” “Special ID,” with Donnie Yen “The Assassins,” with Chow Yun Fat and “Dangers Liaisons,” with Zhang Ziyi, Cecilia Cheung and Jang Dong Gun.