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Zhang Ziyi to star as Mulan in English production

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HONG KONG (AP) - The folk story of an ancient Chinese woman who replaces her father in battle will get its second live-action adaptation in recent years _ this time in English starring Zhang Ziyi.

The legend of Mulan was made famous worldwide by the 1998 Disney animation. Hong Kong director Jingle Ma shot a Chinese-language version released last year. Now "Speed" director Jan de Bont is taking on an English adaptation featuring "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Zhang.

Producer Christopher Brough told The Associated Press in an e-mail on Wednesday that filming will begin this fall in Hengdian Studios in eastern China.

After catapulting to stardom with "Crouching Tiger," Zhang has juggled careers in Hollywood and Chinese film. Her subsequent English credits include "Rush Hour 2," "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Horsemen." In China, her recent releases include "Forever Enthralled" and "Sophie's Revenge." She plays an AIDS patient in Gu Changwei's upcoming film "A Tale of Magic."

The Chinese actress will soon begin training for bow and arrow and ground combat in preparation for her role, her manager, Ling Lucas, told the AP in an e-mail.

"She has complete trust in Jan de Bont to turn Mulan into a memorable screen legend," Lucas said. "She had admired Jan's work for a long time and really looks forward to working with him."

The Dutch-born director's other works include "Twister," "The Haunting" and "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life."

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