Antoine Fuqua to direct Tang Dynasty romance epic

Antoine Fuqua might be a strange choice to helm an epic romance set during the Chinese Tang Dynasty, but that's apparently exactly what he'll be doing. THR confirms that the Training Day director will get behind the camera for a biopic of Imperial consort, Yang Guifei, and her ill-fated relationship with 8th century Emperor Xuanzong, the Tang Dynasty's longest reigning ruler. Guifei is referred to as one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. The story of their love is one of China's most well-known, and has been interpretated many times through paintings, novelizations, television, and poetry.

The film currently is without a title, but plans are for production to begin in China later this year with a planned release some time in 2012. That would put the start date a little after Fuqua completes filming on his Tupac Shakur biopic, which is slated to begin this summer.  The budget for this film is estimated at around $30M, with hopes that the story will go well beyond China's borders...

“It’s a big subject, well known in Chinese circles around the world,” Xi’an Qujiang chairman Zhao An told The Hollywood Reporter. “With director Antoine Fuqua at the helm, we’re hoping to bring this story on to the international stage.”

The script is nearing completion, although no word on who wrote it has been revealed. Fuqua is best known for making gritty, urban dramas such as Training Day and Brooklyn's Finest, but has ventured out of that comfort zone with films like King Arthur and Tears of the Sun.