Gong Li has been confirmed for Mikael Hafstrom's new film Shanghai. Hafstrom was responsible for this summer's effective but pretty mediocre hit 1408 with John Cusack. It seems that Cusack will play the lead in Shanghai with Gong Li as the mysterious love interest. Shanghai will be a period piece that takes place in Japanese-occupied Shanghai shortly before the US's entry into World War II. As far as I can tell, Shanghai looks to be a sort of espionage/mystery/thriller. The script was written by Hossein Amini who also wrote The Four Feathers.
Gong Li most recent film was Zhang Yimou's visually stunning Curse of the Golden Flower (right), but she has made a handful of appearances in Hollywood films ranging from the worst, Memoirs of a Geisha, to the best, Miami Vice, with Hannibal Rising somewhere in between. Back in the day, when Gong Li was the leading lady for Zhang Yimou, and star of the Chinese art house film circuit, see was quoted in saying that Hollywood offers of playing dumbed down female roles did not interest her. That was well over ten years ago that I read that interview, and while things have no doubt changed for her, I wouldn't say she has sold out by any means. Although I am not sure about the pairing with John Cusack, I look forward to seeing Gong Li in this film.
Shanghai is slated to shoot in 2008 and to be released sometime in 2009.