In July, Hong Kong action director Woo signed on to direct the movie, which will be called Flying Tiger Heroes (飞虎群英) in Chinese. With a projected budget of US$100 million, it will be the most expensive movie ever made in China.
At the Beijing press conference where Woo was named director of the film project, it was announced that filming would begin before the end of this year. Woo said the film will contain the most spectacular aerial battle scenes ever seen in Chinese cinema.
He added that the movie would highlight the spirit of Yunnan culture as well as Chinese heroes from World War II and the US-China friendship that led to the founding of the Flying Tigers.
The Flying Tigers were a group of American pilots who helped China with its war of resistance against Japan before the US officially entered World War II. It is believed that Cruise will play the part of Claire Lee Chennault, the commander of the Flying Tigers, who is one of the most respected foreign military figures in China.
"This is an extremely important production," Woo said at the signing ceremony in July. "This Yunnan-themed film emphasizes China-US friendship and the contributions of the Flying Tigers and the people of Yunnan during the War of Resistance."
Update: It appears that the Variety article may have been jumping the gun on Cruise appearing in Woo's film, according to cinematical.com. Thanks to Colin Flahive for the tip.
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