Li breaks record with $13 mil paycheck

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BEIJING - Chinese action star Jet Li is set to rake in 100 million yuan ($13 million) for his latest movie, a record for an actor in a Chinese-language film, state media reported Sunday.

Nearly half of the $40 million budget for "The Warlords" went to the cast, among whom were Hong Kong heartthrob Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Beijing-based actress and director Xu Jinglei, in addition to Li.

"Without Jet Li, we would not dare to invest $40 million in a Chinese-language film," Xinhua news agency quoted director Peter Chan as saying. Li was a "guarantee" for global sales, Chan said.

Chinese-language movies have registered a string of hits in the past few years, from Ang Lee's martial arts tale "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", to Zhang Yimou's ancient history epic "Hero".

The earlier salary record was held by Li himself for his role in "Hero", for which he earned 70 million yuan.

Li, 44, a childhood martial arts champion, has also broken into English-language films, featuring in action pictures such as "Romeo Must Die" and "Lethal Weapon 4".

"The Warlords", a war epic based on a Qing Dynasty story, is slated for release in Asia in mid-December and in North America from next March.
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