Ge You to star in marathon movie

Drama will be shot in Mandarin

SHANGHAI -- "Distance Runners," a Sino-U.S. co-production about marathoners, will star leading Chinese comic Ge You when it starts shooting in August, producer Jay Rothstein said Monday.

The $2.2 million drama will be shot entirely in Mandarin with an international cast, said Rothstein, whose first Chinese-language film, "Milk and Fashion," opens June 1 in China.

"This is the next level in Chinese cinema -- movies starring international actors performing in Chinese," said Rothstein, CEO of Shanghai-based China Venture Films.

"Distance" centers on Shen, a young man nearly paralyzed in an accident who rebuilds his strength through running, going on to a 100-mile race in mountainous Yunnan province.

Pippin Parker will rewrite a script by Richard Trombly.

Robert Vicencio, directing his first feature film, has replaced David Ren ("Shanghai Kiss") as director for "creative reasons" Rothstein said.

Ge -- best known in the West in Zhang Yimou's "To Live" and Chen Kaige's "Farewell My Concubine" -- will play Xu Ping, Shen's father. Cheng Pei-pei ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") plays Sun Lo Mei, mother of Wendy, an American journalist and Shen's love interest, played by Cheng's daughter, Eugenia Yuan.

Also starring will be Japanese actor Chuya, star of popular Chinese TV series "My Hero," and Kyle Rothstein, the producer's son and the first non-Asian to speak Chinese in a feature lead, "Milk and Fashion."

The second co-production between China Venture Films and Yunnan Minority Film Studio, the "Runners" budget comes from investment from the U.S., China and Taiwan, and through New Balance sponsorship. New Balance shoes will be the featured product placement in the film.