Zhang Yimou remaking Coens' 'Blood Simple'

'Hero' director is shooting a redo of brothers' debut film

HONG KONG -- Zhang Yimou has started shooting a remake of the Coen brothers' debut, "Blood Simple," the "Raise the Red Lantern" director's first film since designing the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics last year, a publicist said Tuesday.

Filming on the Chinese film "San Qiang Pai An Jing Qi" -- which roughly translates as "The Stunning Case of the Three Gun Shots" -- kicked off June 9, Ping Xue, a publicist at Zhang's Beijing New Picture Film Co. said in a phone interview from Beijing.

The thriller-comedy, which will be released late this year, stars Chinese actor Sun Honglei, comedian Xiao Shenyang and actress Yan Ni, Ping said.

She declined to reveal the plot of the film, but "Blood Simple" is about a Texas bar owner who hires a private detective to kill his wife and her lover. The 1984 movie starring Frances McDormand won the Grand Jury Prize for best film at the United States Film Festival -- the predecessor to the Sundance Film Festival -- helping establish Joel and Ethan Coen's reputations.

The brothers went on to make films like "Fargo," "The Big Lebowski," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "No Country for Old Men," which won Oscar best picture and best director.

The "Blood Simple" remake also marks Zhang's first movie since the 2006 imperial court drama "Curse of the Golden Flower," starring Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li. After that film, Zhang took a break to focus on the Beijing Olympics ceremonies.

Zhang's stunning opening ceremony, which saw a retired Chinese gymnast lifted by wires to light the Olympic cauldron, won a Peabody Award for excellence in electronic media.

The Chinese director is also scheduled to direct a gala celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1.

Zhang's credits also include "Red Sorghum," "To Live," "Ju Dou," "Hero" and the "House of Flying Daggers.