Why Keanu Reeves is in China:
Keanu Reeves is in talks to make his directing debut on the martial arts movie Man of Tai Chi, in which he will also star as the main villain, reports The Wrap.
Reeves, who has a long-standing interest in eastern fighting forms, has also written the screenplay for the project, which will be shot in Mandarin and English. Tiger Chen, a member of the kung fu team on the Matrix movies, is also set to join the cast should the film be greenlit by the two production companies currently eyeing it, China Film Group and Village Roadshow Pictures.
Reeves recently finished filming another passion project, a Hollywood version of the classic Japanese samurai-era story 47 Ronin, which has been described by screenwriter Chris Morgan as a "Gladiator-esque, 300-like big action movie with samurai and ninja".
China Film Group is the largest and most influential state-run film enterprise in China, and often manages co-production relationships between Hollywood and the Chinese state. China now has the second-largest box office in the world, but only allows around 20 foreign productions to screen in cinemas there each year. Joint productions such as 2008's The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor tend to be allowed in, offering US companies the chance to take a chunk of the lucrative Chinese market.