John Woo’s ‘Chinese Titanic’ Begins Shooting in Beijing

John Woo 2013 P
Beijing Galloping Horse

“The Crossing,” the director’s first project in four years, tells the story of a momentous voyage in the South China Sea and is being likened to the James Cameron global hit.

John Woo’s return to directing after a four-year hiatus with The Crossing is now underway in Beijing, the production companies behind the project announced in a statement.

The big-budget project is being dubbed the “Chinese Titanic” by local Chinese media and stars a bevy of local A-listers, including Zhang Ziyi, Huang Xiaoming and Tong Dawei, along with South Korea’s Song Hye-kyo, Japan’s Masami Nagasawa and Taiwan’s Takeshi Kaneshiro.

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The film will be released in two parts -- much like Woo’s last project, historical epic Red Cliff (2008) and Red Cliff II (2009) -- and tells the story of three couples aboard a ship in the South China Sea fleeing China for Taiwan during the 1949 revolution. The screenplay is written by Wang Huiling, best known for co-writing Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and adapting Lust Caution.

Originally titled 1949 and planned since 2009, the project was reportedly delayed due to challenges in getting the script approved because of political sensitivities in China surrounding any portrayal of the revolutionary era.

The two-part film is budgeted at $40 million and is jointly backed by Beijing Galloping Horse, China Film Group and Zhejiang Huace Film & TV, with Woo and Terence Chang’s Lion Rock Productions banner attached.  

Woo already has his next film in the works: the long-planned World War II drama Flying Tigers, which is expected to go into production in 2014.