HK producer to revisit 'Sex' in 3D

1991 erotic classic to get big screen redux

HONG KONG – Stereoscopic 3D has lured veteran producer and screenwriter Stephen Siu to return to filmmaking, with a reinvention of his 1991 Chinese erotic classic “Sex and Zen," and an upcoming 3D film adaptation of the beloved Ming dynasty Chinese fantasy “The Investiture of the Gods” ("Fengshen Yanyi").

The original HK$20 million grossing “Sex and Zen," which Siu produced and adapted from a 17th century Chinese erotic literary classic, grossed HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) held the record as the top grossing Category III (equivalent to an NC-17 rating) film for 17 years in Hong Kong, and launched a wave of similar cinematic erotica in the 1990s. 

The advance of 3D filmmaking was the main reason for Siu to revisit the story and the genre, said Siu, who quit filmmaking in the mid-1990s. He is now writing the updated take for IMAX 3D, which will mark a thematic and technological break from the original, but he promises the remake, invested and produced by his company One Dollar Production, will be as action-packed as the 1991 version.

“Local Category III erotica had been in decline since the proliferation of the Internet; confined by the ratings systems, Category III films could not compete with the material available online for free,” Siu told The Hollywood Reporter. “But 3-D and IMAX versions are a different story, the audience has to go into the cinema to get the full experience. The realistic rendering of the environment and the action makes it perfect for genres that appeal to the senses. 3D has turned Category III erotica from a dead genre to a possible genre.” 

“3D Sex and Zen” is scheduled to commence filming in July, with a budget of HK$30 million and a May 2011 release date. Director and cast are not yet confirmed, but Siu said the cast would include Japanese adult actresses for the more outrageous and fantastical setups.

China will not be a target market for “3D Sex and Zen,” which has attracted the interest of buyers in Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and Europe, but Siu and One Dollar Production are developing a 100 million yuan (US$14.6 million) China-Hong Kong co-produced IMAX 3-D action fantasy adapted from the Ming dynasty Chinese mythological epic novel “The Investiture of the Gods," the popularity of which is comparable to the oft-adapted “Journey to the West." In order to develop its 3D-only slate, the company is in negotiation with 3D veterans in the U.S. and New Zealand to supervise productions and build a 10-strong team.

The company is also branching out into foreign film distribution in Hong Kong, with its One Dollar Distribution closing deals in Cannes with U.S. distributor Nu Image for five titles, including Stallone’s “Rambo V," Werner Herzog's “Bad Lieutenant” remake, starring Nicolas Cage, Antoine Fuqua’s “Brooklyn’s Finest," Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx starrer “Kane and Lynch” and “Spider 3D," as well as “The Good Doctor” from Voltage.