The Weinstein Company is in final negotiations to sign a three-picture deal with top Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs of a Geisha), the first being a live-action version of Mulan, says Variety. Second up with Zhang, The Weinstein Co. is planning a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 movie The Seven Samurai. Zhang is interested in playing the role of a peasant girl who hides from bandits in boy's clothes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Mulan is set up as one of the debut pictures out of the new Meridian Pictures studio being established by Chinese multi-millionaire David Dong.

The film is written by Wang Hui-ling (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and forthcoming John Woo project The Battle of Red Cliff). It draws on a Chinese folk tale of a female resistance fighter who disguises herself as her father to take his place in battle. Disney made "Mulan'' into an animated feature in 1998, but the tale was first put on the big screen in a 1956 Chinese production. The new Chinese-language film's budget will be around $20 million, with production scheduled to begin next February.