By Jonathan Landreth
South Korean starlet Jun Ji-hyun will star in "Blood Vampire," the live-action English-language remake of the hit Japanese animated film, a representative for Seoul-based talent representative iHQ said Monday at the American Film Market.
"Vampire," by Hong Kong director Ronnie Yu ("Jet Li's Fearless"), is a $30 million production from Hong Kong rainmaker Bill Kong and France's Pathe Entertainment and is in preproduction.
The project is important to the efforts by iHQ, an integrated entertainment company, to bring its South Korean talent overseas, the spokesperson said.
"This is the first big-budget Hollywood film for a Korean actress speaking English in the lead role," said the spokesperson, asking not to be named.
Jun is known in Asia for roles in the Korean blockbuster "Il Mare," (remade by Warner Bros. as "The Lake House," starring Sandra Bullock) and in director Kwak Jae-yong's "My Sassy Girl" and "Windstruck."
The live-action film is based on the Oshii Mamoru anime hit about Saya (Jun), a vampire employed by the U.S. government to hunt demons in post-World War II Japan.
"Vampire" is set to start shooting in March in China and Argentina and is scheduled for release in 2008, the iHQ source said.
Production I.G., the Japanese producers of the anime original, 2000's "Blood: The Last Vampire," will receive residuals from the live-action film, the source said.
The anime original was praised for its blend of 2-D and 3-D elements. It was made with Sony's Aniplex and distributed in North America by Manga Entertainment, later spinning off a video game, a manga and plans for a TV series.
Mark Russell in Seoul contributed to this report.
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