Antoine Fuqua to Direct Chinese Concubine Love Story (Exclusive)

Antoine Fuqua - portrait
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The "Training Day" helmer is set for historic epic about a Tang Dynasty emperor and one of China's four legendary beauties.

HONG KONG – Training Day director Antoine Fuqua has signed on to direct a 200 million yuan (US $30 million) biopic on legendary Tang Dynasty imperial concubine Yang Guifei, according to producer Xi’an Qujiang Film & TV Investment Group.

The Xi’an Qujiang group is the sole investor in the historical epic, set to begin production in locations across China later this year for a targeted 2012 release.

The as-yet-untitled film will tell the tragic love story between imperial consort Yang, one of the four famed beauties of ancient China, and 8th century Emperor Xuanzong, the longest reigning monarch of the Tang Dynasty, who ascended to the throne at the summit of the dynasty's power and influence. Their love affair has been widely celebrated by classical poets and is the subject of paintings, Chinese operas, books and television shows in the subsequent millennium.

“It’s a big subject, well known in Chinese circles around the world,” Xi’an Qujiang chairman Zhao An told The Hollywood Reporter. “With director Antoine Fuqua at the helm, we’re hoping to bring this story on to the international stage.”

The Chinese-language project has been in development for two years. The script is now being finalized and casting is underway.

Fuqua is also slated to direct Morgan Creek’s Tupac Shakur biopic in late spring/early summer.