A press conference has been held in China to announce the production of John Woo‘s next film, claimed to be the most expensive Chinese production to date. Half of the £100 million funds will allegedly be coming from the US, however, though I haven’t actually seen it confirmed who the American backers are. The film will unsurprisingly feature a mix of ‘Hollywood’ and Chinese movie stars.

The Flying Tigers, more officially known as The 1st American Volunteer Group, flew missions against the Japanese in World War 2. They apparently destroyed 300 enemy aircraft while suffering only 14 casualties, for which they were paid a bonus which might, technically, make them mercenaries.

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Now that John Woo has his insanely epic Red Cliff double bill all wrapped up, his next project was due to be a World War II drama called 1949. It was announced at Cannes last year that Woo’s Lion Rock would be producing the film and he himself would be directing. I salivated, I have to admit.

Unfortunately, Ya-shih Films have more recently made a claim to ownership of the script. They had initially acquired it two years ago and though the ScreenDaily story doesn’t exactly make the details clear, it seems their onward deal with Lion Rock wasn’t exactly solid. Ya-shih have now set 1949 up for production as a TV drama – while hedging their bets and looking for a ‘suitable director’ to see it through as a big screen project. The screenplay was written by Lust, Caution‘s Wang Hui-ling – I bet they at least try to secure Ang Lee.

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Last week we told you that a sequel to John Woo‘s 1992 Hong Kong action-classic Hard Boiled was in development. Screenwriters Jeremy Passmore (Special) and Andre Fabrizio (upcoming John Carpenter film The Prince) were hired to write an adaption of the Woo-produced 2007 video game Stranglehold, which was an official sequel to Hard Boiled and featured star Chow Yun-Fat reprising his role as hard-boiled cop Inspector “Tequila” Yuen.

But apparently the big screen version won’t be a sequel after all… it will be more of a prequel… or maybe even a total reimagining? Twitch talked to Woo’s production partner Terence Chang, who clarified that Stranglehold will feature “a much younger Tequila” and he called the film “not a sequel” but instead, “a total reinvention”.

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In this very special episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen, Peter Sciretta, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley are joined by writer/actor/director Kevin Smith to discuss Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. In this epic, 1 hour and 45-minute long discussion, the five of them delve into the faithfulness of the film adaptation, the effectiveness of the film’s soundtrack, the controversy surrounding the film’s ending, the sexuality of Rorschach, and the resemblance between Zack Snyder and Jesus.

Have any questions/comments/complaints/suggestions? Want to sponsor or advertise with the /Filmcast? You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Tuesday night at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST on Slashfilm’s live page as we review The Last House on the Left.

To hear the entire episode, you can download it here, or play it now in your browser:

To hear just the segment where Kevin Smith reviews Watchmen with us, you can download it here or play it now in your browser:

To subscribe to weekly episodes of the /Filmcast, where we review movies and discuss film news with actors/directors/webmasters from all over the internet, use the following links:

Update – Welcome Digg users! If you liked this episode of the /Filmcast, you might also enjoy the following:

Dan Trachtenberg from the Totally Rad Show talks soundtracks with David Chen

The /Filmcast Interviews Dave Gibbons (the original Watchmen illustrator)

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John Woo‘s production company Lion Rock Entertainment is developing a big screen sequel to the classic 1992 Hong Kong action film Hard Boiled. Screenwriters Jeremy Passmore (Special) and Andre Fabrizio (upcoming John Carpenter film The Prince) are penning the adaption of the Woo-produced 2007 video game Strangehold, which was an official sequel to Hard Boiled and featured star Chow Yun-Fat reprising his role as hard-boiled cop Inspector “Tequila” Yuen. I assume the film  being developed for American audiences, as American screenwriters are attached. Which makes me wonder if this would be a real sequel to Hard Boiled, or a stand-alone film which could function as a sequel to Hard Boiled in an alternative universe where the first film took place in the United States (and some people thought Watchmen was confusing?).

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Movie Trailer: John Woo’s Red Cliff 2

Twitch has the first trailer for the second a part of John Woo‘s massive epic period war film Red Cliff, based on the The Battle of Red Cliffs in 208 AD. Looks pretty intense. The most expensive film in Chinese film history. The first part broke box office records in China.

VOTD: If Hollywood Directors Made Campaign Ads

If Hollywood Directors Made Campaign Ads

The Pitch: What if big hollywood directors were hired by John McCain to create campaign attack advertisements. This faux video shows three ads by three directors: John Woo, Kevin Smith, and Wes Anderson.

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John Woo To Direct Comic Book Movie

John Woo has signed on to direct a comic book adaptation! So what superhero will Woo bring to the big screen? A new Superman? Guess again. Captain America? Nope. Justice League? Yeah right. The answer is… Caliber: First Canon of Justice. Wait, what? Never heard of it? That’s because it Radical Publishing only released the first issue on April 30th. Here is the official plot synopsis for this Mythical Western/Fantasy:

“The Arthurian legend as retold in the American Old West, with all of its great symbolism, magic and spirit of adventure. The Knights of the Round Table are all gunslingers bound by a code of honor to protect the weak and defend the innocent until they are undone from within by their own moral corruption. In this tale, Caliber itself is a tattooed six-gun, given to Arthur by the Indians and imbued with supernatural power. The secret of the gun is that it is never loaded with bullets, but when a man with Justice on his side is holding it, it can fire. When it does, it fires Thunder itself and never misses.”

I love the idea of transplanting a timeless story to a different timeframe. I’m sure Woo’s take would be interesting to watch, but when will he find the time to make it? Variety even admits that this isn’t likely to be Woo’s next project.

9 Minutes of John Woo’s Red Cliff

John Woo's Red Cliff

Over the weekend a 9-minute Cannes promo reel for John Woo’s Red Cliff showed up online. The 4-hour 2-episode $80 million epic adaptation of The Battle of Red Cliffs is the biggest budget Chinese film ever to be greenlit. Red Cliff stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen, Hu Jun, Lin Chi-ling and Zhao Wei. The first of the two films is scheduled to be released in July in select territories. I’m not exactly sure when the movie will be released in the States or if it will be cut down into one release. We’ll keep you updated. Watch the video footage after the jump. Looks pretty epic if you ask me.

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Chow Yun-fat

Chow Yun-fat has dropped out of John Woo’s 4-hour $75 million adaptation of The Battle of Red Cliff (titled Red Cliff) three days into shooting, according to Variety. The producers don’t know what to do, and are doing the best they can to reschedule the production around the scenes and shots that don’t involve the leading man. That’s right, Chow Yun-fat was the lead.

According to the producers, the move was made “since the bond company CineFinance would not approve his agreement.” But we believe there is more to the story. The agency claims that Chow had made “unreasonable demands.” While Chow claims he didn’t receive a final script until a few days ago and “was not sure he would do justice to the character.” I don’t know who to believe.

Chow is not the first to depart from the project. Tony Leung Chiu-wai (Bullet In The Head) quit a few weeks back over time commitments (He claimed that he could not make a commitment to the six month-long production).

Red Cliff, the biggest budget Chinese film ever to be greenlit, is the big screen retelling of the Battle of Red Cliffs, a decisive battle during the period of the Three Kingdoms in China. According to, the battle took place in the winter of 208 C.E. between the allied forces of the southern warlords (Liu Bei and Sun Quan), and the northern warlord Cao Cao. Liu and Sun successfully frustrated Cao’s effort to conquer the land south of the Yangtze River and reunify China. It is also distinctive for being one of the most lethal battles in world history. Despite being one of the most famous battles of Chinese history, descriptions of the battle differ widely on details; in fact, even the place of battle is still fiercely debated.