Director Woo Can’t Film on Yangtze

Director John Woo says efforts to depict an ancient Chinese battle in his new film have been frustrated because he can’t shoot at China’s largest river, the Yangtze.

Woo has had to rely on special effects to create a similar backdrop in the upcoming movie, "Battle of Red Cliff." It is based on a war of the same name in 208 A.D. that determined the geography of the Three Kingdoms period, when China had three separate rulers.

The movie, scheduled to start shooting in March, features Chow Yun-fat, Cannes best actor winner Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Taiwanese model Lin Chi-ling.

"Our biggest challenge is location because we can’t shoot at the Yangtze. Due to many different reasons and circumstances, we can only shoot in Beijing and Hebei province," Woo said on the sidelines of an awards ceremony in Beijing on Thursday. Hebei is located in China’s north.

Footage of Woo’s remarks was posted on the Chinese news Web site Sina.com on Saturday. Woo didn’t say why his production team can’t shoot at the Yangtze. The river is the site of frequent dam construction aimed at meeting China’s growing energy needs.

"Battle of Red Cliff" marks Hong Kong native Woo’s return to Chinese-language cinema after moving to Hollywood, where his credits include "Broken Arrow," "Face/Off" and "Mission: Impossible II."

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