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HK FilMart: John Woo Searches Out ‘Manhunt’ As Next Directorial Project

Top Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo will next direct action thriller “Manhunt,” an adaptation of a Japanese novel.

The project, produced by Hong Kong’s Media Asia, sees a prosecutor framed for robbery, rape and multiple murders. He sets out on a strenuous solo mission to clear his name.

The book “Kimi yo Funnu no Kawa o Watare” (aka “Hot Pursuit”) by Juko Nishimura was previously adapted as a movie in Japan in 1976, directed by Junya Sato and starring Ken Takakura (“Black Rain”) as the prosecutor. In 1978 it was the first foreign film released in China after the end of China’s Cultural Revolution, and became a massive hit.

Media Asia confirmed that the film will start shooting in 2015, which makes it Woo’s next film after he completes two-part wartime epic “The Crossing.” Woo was previously attached to an ambitious aerial project, “Flying Tigers,” focused on how Chinese and U.S. airmen flew together during WWII.

Media Asia said that “Manhunt” will be made with elements in Chinese, Korean and English languages.

After a career in Hong Kong that included hit action films including “The Killer,” “Bullet in the Head” and “Hard Boiled,” Woo relocated to Hollywood, bringing Asian visual elements to movies that included “Mission: Impossible II,” “Face/Off” and “Windtalkers.” He returned to Asia, directing epics including “Red Cliff” and “The Crossing” and also executive producing a remake of cult hit “A Better Tomorrow.”

Media Asia acquired movie rights from publisher Tokuma Shoten. “When I found out that John was a huge fan of the late Ken Takakura, I immediately gave him a call, trying to convince him to direct the film for us,” said Peter Lam, chairman of Media Asia.

“By chance I was mourning the loss of Takakura when Peter called, and I accepted the challenge in a heartbeat,” said Woo in a prepared statement.

Media Asia will begin pre-sales on the movie from next week’s FilMart convention in Hong Kong.

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