With production scheduled to start in a few weeks, casting on Iron Man 3 is starting to heat up. Today we have word that Chinese superstar Andy Lau is in final negotiations to play an old friend of Tony Stark's, who helps him defeat The Mandarin.

It is said that the actor's unknown role, "represents the technology sector" of China. The Mandarin has been long rumored to be the villain of this sequel, although the role has not been cast yet.

If a deal becomes finalized, the Infernal Affairs star joins a cast which includes Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, and Jessica Chastain.

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Shane Black is directing from a screenplay by Drew Pearce. We reported last week that the sequel will be a Chinese co-production, although it is not known when shooting will start in China. Production begins in North Carolina in early May.