Jackie Chan plans turbo-charged slate

11:00 AM PST 05/13/2010 by Gregg Kilday, David Morgan

Eight films and two TV dramas in the works

CANNES -- With projects ranging from a martial arts film that reflects the spirit of his 1978 hit "Drunken Master" to movies designed to showcase rising talent like actress Lin Peng, Jackie Chan is embarking on an ambitious slate of films and TV shows that will play out over the next few years.

Chan will not be visiting the Croisette this year: He's assisting earthquake relief efforts in China and next month will be busy with promotional chores for "The Karate Kid," which Sony Pictures launches in the U.S. on June 11.

But his reps are busy here showing distributors the lineup of projects to be produced by Chan's JC Group China and his Jackie & JJ Prods.

The slate encompasses eight features and two TV dramas. Chan himself will star in four of the films and produce another four projects built around new filmmakers and stars.

First up for Chan himself is the martial arts film "Drunken Master 1945." Though neither a remake nor sequel to Chan's 1978 hit "Drunken Master," the new film is intended to capture the martial arts spirit that the earlier film also celebrated.

Mak Sui Fai, the co-writer and co-director of 2002's "Infernal Affairs," will helm the project, budgeted at $15 million, which is aiming to start shooting in February.

At the same time, Chan will be shepherding several other projects as producer.

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Beginning in August, Steve Woo will direct "The Break-Up Artist," a Chinese Mandarin-language romantic comedy about a young woman who runs an agency that helps couples break up. The $2 million project will star Lin, who walked the red carpet on opening night, and who plays the female lead in Chan's latest film "Little Big Soldier." The Chinese actress was first introduced to a worldwide audience when Zhang Yimou invited her to participate in the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Woo also directed the similarly titled 2009 English-language film, "The Break-Up Artist," starring Amanda Crew. But he doesn't consider the new version a remake, since he's adding new elements and lining up famous guest appearances for the film.

The other projects in which Chan plans to star are:

-- "Cambodia Landmine," an action/comedy/drama, to be directed by "Little Big Soldier's" Ding Sheng. The $25 million production is scheduled to shoot in Cambodia in February 2012.

-- "Tiger Mountain," a Mandarin-language action drama, to be directed by Tsui Siu Ming. Budgeted at $50 million and set to begin production in October 2012, the film will boast 3D special effects.

-- "Manhattan," a $55 million action suspenser in both Mandarin and English, which Chan will both star in and direct is slated for January 2013. It is filming in both China and the U.S.

"Jackie also wants to promote new directors," said Ramy Choi, director of acquisitions and distribution for Jackie Chan Theater International.

In addition to "Break-Up," Chan will produce a second film from Woo, the romance "Letter With No Return," set for an October shoot on a $2 million budget, and the suspense pic, "Magic Master," starring Ge You, for which a director is still being sought in anticipation of a February start.

Additionally, Chan's exhibition chain is expanding its footprint in China. Jackie Chan Theater already has opened 17 theaters and is looking to roll out as many as 65.
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