The cat is out of the bag and all over the Chinese web - Stephen Chow's next film starts shooting in August and, it is finally confirmed, this one is the sci-fi romantic comedy not the sequel to Kung Fu Hustle, now put on hold until next time out.
The new film's title, Yangtze River VII, refers to the spacecraft that ends up marooning Chow on a distant, sci-fantasy planet. Once stranded there he meets an alien that he effectively adopts as a son - casting yet to be announced - and a translator-cyborg-clone played by Zhang Yuqi, with whom, of course, he has a love affair.
Apparently Zhang Yuqi was asked to lose weight for the role, and has already shed 30 pounds.
Chow has been auditioning a large number of children for roles in the film, so I think it is safe to say his surrogate son will at least start out as a kiddiwink. Some reports even suggest the film is a kids' film, at least a family one.
A number of screenwriters have come and gone on this project, rewriting and rewriting and rewriting until Chow was satisfied. He has suggested that getting the film right on paper was particularly important to him this time out - maybe as it is going to prove heavily dependant on CG effects.
The expensive, lush and detailed sets have been built in industrial buildings in Ningbong, an Eastern port town that has sometimes been referred to as Chow's 'spiritual home'. Expect a release in China and Hong Kong laste next year.