With Hollywood's ever growing interest in tapping into China's lucrative box office market, it comes as no surprise that 20th Century Fox has partnered up with China Film Group to produce Tragedy of the Chinese Laborers
(華工血淚史), a historical film starring Chow Yun Fat and Liam Neeson as immigrant workers constructing the California Union Pacific Railroad in 19th century America.
Back in the 80's, Taiwanese director King Hu wanted to film a story based on the struggles of the 19th century
Chinese railway workers in the United States. However, the film was met with funding issues and was eventually abandon after Hu passed away. In 2005, Fox bought the rights and sought Liam Neeson for a role. The film was put on hold due to lack of funds until last year when China Film Group agreed to invest in the production under the condition that the majority of the filming would be done in China.
According to Hong Kong media reports via Jayne Stars
, the US/China co-production will be helmed by Shekhar Kapur, the director of the Academy award-winning film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
, with a budget of US$150 million. In the film, Chow Yun-fat will play the leader of the Chinese laborers who not only contend with exploitation at the workplace but also faced competition from the Irish workers, who will be led by Liam Neeson. Fan Bingbing, who will make her Hollywood debut this summer in Iron Man 3
also stars as Yun-fat's love interest.
Production will begin in August with shooting taking place in China, the United States and Canada.
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