02-27-2006 13:56

Acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou has begun shooting on his latest film endeavor. It's a historical drama entitled "The City of Golden Armor".

The film's low-key launch ceremony was in line with Zhang's desires to keep the project shrouded in mystery.

"The City of Golden Armor" is being shot at the Number Two studio -- the largest on the Beijing Film Studio lot. Zhang used the same studio for "House of Flying Daggers".

With the exception of Taiwan R&B King Jay Chow, all the film's principal actors attended the launch ceremony. Mainland actor Liu Ye, who plays a prince in the film, arrived first. He was followed by Titans Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li, who star as emperor and empress. However, none of the stars granted any interviews.

Most of the talking was done by the film's crew. Screenwriter Wang Bin gave an explanation of the title. He said: "A rebel leader during the late Tang dynasty once wrote a poem before he rebelled. He compared the blossoming chrysanthemums around his city to golden armor. Zhang liked the metaphor. By the way, the film has to do with golden armor. So we thought it would make for a great movie title."

"The City of Golden Armor" has a budget of 360 million yuan, or around 45 million US dollars, which makes it Zhang's most expensive film to date. It's scheduled for release at the end of 2007.