Khoo follows 'Magic' with 'Rose'

Film centers on striptease queen Rose Chan

SINGAPORE -- Singapore director Eric Khoo has joined forces with local studio MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures to make the biopic "Chinese Rose," based on the life story of a famed Chinese cabaret dancer, Khoo said Monday.

"Rose" is Khoo's first film since "My Magic," which will compete for the Palme d'Or at May's Festival de Cannes.

The film centers on Rose Chan, a cabaret dancer turned striptease queen in the 1950s and '60s.

"My Magic," a father-son story starring professional magician Bosco Francis, is the first Singapore film ever presented In Competition and is one of only three films from Asia in this year's competition.

"Rose" will be shot in Malaysia in languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Malay and Tamil.

Principal photography starts in the second half of this year, with a release date set for 2009.

The film is produced in collaboration with Khoo's Zhao Wei Films, with a budget of $1.5 million-$2 million.

An open casting call has been launched for the lead actress, who Khoo said had to be "voluptuous and sensual."

Khoo is not committed to casting the lead role in Singapore. "Singapore is conservative. I hope to find her here but if not I will go to China," he said.

"Chinese Rose" is part of MediaCorp. Raintree's ambitions to make films able to travel beyond Singapore.