Stephen Chow's 'Odyssey' continues filming Feb.

72 actors will be playing main character, the monkey king

HONG KONG -- Stephen Chow's remake of his 1994 two-part classic "A Chinese Odyssey" will commence shooting next February, with 72 actors playing the main character, the monkey king. The remake marks the first in a slate of three films Chow's Bingo Group is launching next year.

The new comedy adaptation of Chinese literary classic "Journey to the West" is produced by Hong Kong-listed Bingo Group, of which Chow is an executive director and majority shareholder, and China Film Group. With a production budget of 60 million yuan ($9 million), Chow will take the reins as producer, executive producer and screenwriter, while award-winning director Derek Kwok ("The Moss," "Gallants") directs. The film will be shot in various locations across China, and is targeting for a 2011 Christmas release.

Chow is not confirmed to star in the film, as his schedule for next year will be packed with a total of three films Bingo is launching. The main character of the monkey king in the as yet untitled remake, played by Chow in the 1994 original, is intended to be filled by 72 actors, a reference to the monkey king's 72 transformations.

Bingo Group's 2011 slate, apart from "A Chinese Odyssey" remake, will be "Tai Chi," his first English language film shot in the U.S., and the sequel to his 1999 "King of Comedy." Chow will serve as producer, executive producer and screenwriter for all three, but also stars and directs "Tai Chi," which will also star Jack Black and Anne Hathaway. A script is being developed for the "King of Comedy" sequel, to be filmed in China in the later part of 2011.