Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi has done a lot since she broke onto the North American scene in Rush Hour 2 -- a role that required Jackie Chan act as a translator for director Brett Ratner. She had a starring role in Jet Li's Hero, time in Wong Kar Wai's world of 2046, turned Japanese for Memoirs of a Geisha and is actually one of the voices in the geek fest, TMNT. Some of those stints are definitely better than the others, but you can't knock her for stretching out and getting some range. Now she's in talks to co-star with Leon Lai in Mei Lan-fang, a biopic about the famous Peking opera singer.

The film is part of an attempt by China Magnetics Corp. Company to revive the local movie industry, and its definitely a good place to start -- notable cinema names mixed with some Chinese history and music. With a budget of $15 million, Chen Kaige will write and direct the film -- he's the man behind Farewell my Concubine, which tied with The Piano for the Cannes Golden Palm in 1993. Lai will star as Lan-fang, but there is no word who Ziyi will play, should the talks go through, of course. The biopic will follow the male singer's history of portraying famous female characters, his role in making Peking opera popular to Japanese and American audiences and the political environment of the time -- including his refusal to perform while Japan occupied China. According to earlier reports, the film was going to shoot this month, although I imagine that the date has been pushed to some time in the future.
categories Movies, Cinematical