Instead of another Jim Carrey-like comedy, Hong Kong director and star Stephen Chow will present audiences this year with a science-fiction movie named Chang Jiang Qi Hao, or CJ7, but still in his typical slapstick style.
The newly released 2-minute trailer
The movie is scheduled to screen in the mainland on January 31, a week ahead of the Spring Festival, Chinese lunar New Year, according to its official website.
CJ7 features a story about how the lives of a poor father and his son are changed by odd visitors from another planet.
Stephen Chow plays the father and his son, an elementary school student, is played by a nine-year-old girl chosen by Chow himself from Ningbo city of east China's Zhejiang Province, where the comedy was shot. She is said to have been picked for her acting talent and for resembling Chow in his childhood when dressed as a boy.
Although being a low-wage construction worker, the father tried his best to send his son to an elite school, believing this will bring him promising future. But the son is teased often by rich, arrogant and aggressive classmates because of his poor background and shabby clothes.
Director and actor Stephen Chow holds CJ7, a dog-oriented alien, in this promo photo.
Their life dramatically changes when a fascinating and strange toy turns up, which is finally found to be a dog from E.T.'s planet. Its name is "CJ7."
Being a famous comedy star in both mainland and Hong Kong for decades, Chow directed his first movie The Shaolin Soccer in 2001 and played the leading character as well. The film had a box office of more than 42 million US dollars globally.
His second work and worldwide-hit Kung Fu Hustle came out in 2004 to be the second highest grossing film in Hong Kong history after Titanic. It was nominated for the Best Foreign Picture at the 63rd Golden Globe Awards and, at the Asian leading Golden Horse Awards, it won five awards including Best film and Best Director.
Chow said many times in public that the inspiration of CJ7 started about 20 years ago when he watched Steven Spielberg's E.T. as a young man.
"I went back to see the movie over and over again and was amazed that sci-fiction could be filmed like this! I knew then that I would make a movie like that. Steven Spielberg's work inspired me to become a director," said Chow in an interview.
He admitted that CJ7 was a slight departure from his previous comedies. "This type of story is new to mainland movies but I hope audience will like it."
However, the new motion will continue Chow's signature style, such as his spoofing Hollywood blockbusters Mission Impossible and Shrek, as well as his own classics.