Woo sets clock for Chinese saga '1949'


John Woo said Tuesday that his next movie will be "1949," a $40 million epic that spans the end of World War II to the formation of the People's Republic of China.

Produced by Woo's longtime production partner Terence Chang under the Lion Rock banner, the film has sold worldwide rights outside China to Fortissimo Films.

Shooting will take place in China and Taiwan and is set to begin production by year's end. Producers are targeting a December 2009 theatrical release, timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic.

"1949," which draws investment from Ling I-Jun and China's state-run movie studio the China Film Group, will star Seong Hye-kyo and Chang Chen and was written by "Lust, Caution" scribe Wong Hui-Ling.

The Chinese-language project is based on true events and features a love story set against the backdrop of the final years of China's civil war before the rise to power of Mao Zedong's Communist Party.

The deal marks the second collaboration between Fortissimo and Lion Rock, which teamed on director Alexi Tan's "Blood Brothers."

Woo is in Cannes promoting his first Chinese-language film, "Red Cliff," which is being sold by Summit Entertainment. It also is his first film in China since he left Hong Kong years ago to work in Los Angeles. (partialdiff)