Seven Swords:Screen Daily is reporting that legendary Hong Kong action maestro Tsui Hark is finally gearing up to begin shooting his first feature directorial outing since 2002’s Black Mask 2: City Of Masks –- the US$12m kung fu epic Seven Swords, is currently scheduled to head into production next month.

Hong Kong favorites Leon Lai and Charlie Young will be headlining the cast and the cast is also expected to feature talent from China and Korea. Veteran action director Lau Kar-leung, whose resume includes classics such as 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, will be overseeing Seven Swords extensive action sequences.

Based upon author Liang Yusheng’s martial arts novel “Seven Swords Of Mount Tian,” the film plot focuses on a band of wuxia swordsmen attempting to rescue a group of Ming Dynasty rebels being killed off by the forces of Qing. Tsui’s Hong Kong-based Film Workshop is co-producing with Beijing Ciwen Digital Oriental Film & TV Production Co and South Korea’s Boram Entertainment.

Renowned as a major innovator and master of the action genre, Hark has been out of the director’s chair since 2002 –- a fairly long hiatus by Hong Kong standards –- but he has kept himself busy, producing several projects in the interim, including Wellson Chin’s Vampire Effect, and Marco Mak’s Xanda. He also served as a member of Quentin Tarantino’s jury at this year’s Cannes.

Brian B.