UPDATED with more plot info!
The Hollywood Reporter has picked up a story in local Hong Kong tabloid The Apple Daily, revealing that Michael Mann was in town last weekend to scout locations for his new as-yet-untitled cyber thriller. Chris Hemsworth has already signed on as the lead in the film, and apparently Chinese stars including Tang Wei and Nick Cheung could be joining him very soon.
According to the report, both Tang (Lust, Caution) and Cheung (The Beast Stalker), as well as Shawn Yue (Infernal Affairs), were all seen visiting the hotel where Mann was staying last Sunday afternoon. The director was also spotted scouting areas of Jordan (a bustling urban area close to Mongkok in Kowloon) later the same day.
While details of the film's plot have yet to be revealed, part of the action revolves around a combined American-Chinese task force on the trail of a Balkan cyber thief working out of a South Asian country. The mouth waters at the prospect of the increasingly prolific Cheung and Tang (currently flavour of the month as her latest romantic comedy Finding Mr. Right continues to do storming business on both sides of the border) appearing in a top tier Hollywood thriller helmed by the director of Heat and Collateral.
While this is great news for the city, it does raise questions about how China will be depicted in the film. Tensions are currently running high over claims that Chinese hackers infiltrated signifcant areas of US state and financial infrastructure, and big budget productions like Marc Forster's World War Z balking at depicting China in a negative light. However, news that Mann's film will portray US and Chinese agents working together in the region against a "Balkan" foe looks to further enforce positive Sino-US relations, as we will likely see later this month in Marvel's Iron Man 3. Suffice to say, this is certainly a project we'll be paying closer attention to going forward.
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