Script Rights Wrangle Kills John Woo War Pic 1949

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.

According to Lion Rock's Terence Chang, Woo had recently diverted all of his attentions to 1949 and now it's nixed, he has no plans already in place for any other future project (his Olympics-inspired sports picture was nothing but idle chatter, I think). There could be some delay before he finds one – though I can imagine the Stranglehold project being scripted by Jeremy Passmore and Andre Fabrizio is a nice, easy option.

The same article briefly mentions another interesting project on the boil at Lion Rock:

Lion Rock is joining forces with China Film and Korean filmmaker Kim Jong-hak to co-produce a 3D fantasy film. The as-yet-untitled film is adapted from Chinese classic text Shan Hai Jing (Collections Of The Mountains And Seas), about a war between humans, evil spirits and deities in order to get hold of a magic bell.

I'm not exactly an expert on the history of 3D cinema in China, but am interested to see that they're producing sterero pictures too. How long til Woo shoots in stereo himself?