John Lone--who's worked only sporadically since starring in the 1987 Academy Award-winning "The Last Emperor"--will return to the screen in "Shanghai 1920," starring as an Asian underworld crime lord opposite a yet-to-be-cast American actor.
The epic, English-language gangster drama spans the years 1910 to 1936, which encompassed the beginnings of Communism in China, as well as warfare with the Japanese. It follows the saga of two men first drawn together by "a dramatically shocking childhood event."
Shooting is set to begin in several weeks, under Hong Kong director Po-Chih Leong. Michael Laughlin and Timothy Long wrote the script for Hong Kong's Fu Ngai Film Prods. Co. Ltd.
"This movie takes place at a time when Shanghai was a capitalistic center. The world was there," says Laughlin, with a nod to settlements by the English, French and Americans. "There haven't been any films about Shanghai during this period for a long, long time."
"Shanghai 1920" will be Lone's second post-"Emperor" film produced out of Hong Kong, following the political thriller "Shadow of China," which New Line Cinema releases here in March.