Jackie Chan veers back to comedy in China

Period actioner follows gritty gang film 'Shinjuku Incident'

BEIJING -- Helmer Ding Sheng has landed a high-profile sophomore assignment, signing on to direct Jackie Chan in the $25 million period action comedy "Big Soldier," sales agent Distribution Workshop said Friday.

The film, now shooting in Yunnan province in southwest China, is produced by Chan's JC Group International and Beijing-based Bona Entertainment -- a sister company of Distribution Workshop -- with backing from private Singapore media fund LM Media.

It stars Chan as an old soldier who abducts a young general (Wang Lee-hom) of an enemy state and takes him on a long journey to collect the reward.

Distribution Workshop's Jeffrey Chan said he will handle international sales for the Chinese-language film, set during China's Warring States Period (476 B.C.-221 B.C.), in association with the JC Group.

Polybona Film Distribution and JC Group will distribute the movie in China.

The film also stars Chinese-American actor Wang ("Lust, Caution"), Korean singer Yoo Seung-jun, newcomer Lin Peng -- a performer during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics -- and Jackie Chan's martial arts prodigy Xu Dongmei.

Director Ding's first film, "The Underdog Knight," was released in China in 2008.

Jackie Chan's latest release, the gangster thriller "The Shinjuku Incident," opened in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia on Thursday. It will open in Japan on May 1, but won't get distribution in China, where censors barred it for its violent content.