John Woo ("Face/Off," "Mission: Impossible II") might have long ago left Hollywood in the dust, but his recent projects have been more epic in scope than any of the films he’s made in the past. His last solo directorial effort, "Red Cliff," had an $80 million budget, and the Chinese version was 280 minutes long. But his next project, the long-gestating "Flying Tigers," is shaping up to be his most ambitious effort yet.
We first reported on "Flying Tigers" three years ago when Woo was looking for Liam Neeson to star in his WWII epic, with the idea of shooting in IMAX being tossed around. Now it looks like the project is actually happening, with the picture being released in China as a two-part film, and elsewhere as a six-hour TV miniseries. 'Tigers' tells the story of a heroic band of American pilots who volunteer to join the Chinese Air Force and fight Japanese aggression at the onset of World War II, and the pilots who played an integral role in holding the line against Japan in the early days of the war.
The film will be produced by Cyrte Investments and China Film Group (CFG), and it's a project that the CFG considers to be one of their most important films in recent years. John Woo explains, "'Flying Tigers' is a project that I always wanted to do, because this is a story that expresses courage, resourcefulness, friendship, and spirit of both the Chinese and American people and pilots. It promotes the friendship between the two nations."
Moreover, Cyrte Investments CEO Frank Botman described the project as a heroic story in the vein of "Saving Private Ryan" and "Band of Brothers." That's pretty good company to be in. Principal photography is set to begin on "Flying Tigers" in early 2014. [THR]