Jiang Wen plays Cao Cao in The Lost Bladesman

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Actor Jiang Wen as Cao Cao in the film "The Lost Bladesman" [Photo: CFP/Sohu.com]

Actor Jiang Wen has shed the bandit look in his self-directed film "Let the Bullets Fly" to pass as the historical figure Cao Cao in the new film, "The Lost Bladesman" ("Guan Yunchang").

Jiang plays the politician and military strategist who lived between the 2nd and 3rd century around China's Three Kingdoms period.

"Our producers all considered Jiang as the ideal actor for the role, and screenwriters wrote the scripts with him in their minds," co-director Alan Mak was quoted as saying in a press release.

"But we were not sure Jiang would be able to come on board as he was preoccupied by 'Let the Bullets Fly' when we approached him."

Jiang agreed to play Cao Cao after several rounds of talks. "When Jiang did appear on the set, I told myself it was not a dream," added Felix Chong, the other co-director.

However, Cao Cao is not the film's protagonist. "The Lost Bladesman" is about Guan Yu, also known as Guan Yunchang, a loyal general serving under Liu Bei, who led the Kingdom of Shu. Cao Cao, Liu Bei's major rival, appreciated Guan's talent and tried to persuade him to join his entourage.

The film tells how Guan, after being captured by Cao Cao, comes all the way to return to Liu Bei.

Donnie Yen takes the role of Guan Yu. Alex Fong Chung-Sun plays Liu Bei. Other stars in the film include Sun Li and Wang Xuebing.

"The Lost Bladesman" is slated for release within the year.

Jiang Wen's "Let the Bullets Fly", an action comedy in which he co-stars alongside Chow Yun-Fat and Ge You, opened on December 16 and went on to become the No. 3 all-time best-seller at China's box offices, ranking only after James Cameron's "Avatar" and Feng Xiaogang's "Aftershock".

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