Huang Xiaoming, Kim Soo Hyun May Star in “Once a Thief” Remake

Film producer Terence Chang (張家振) this week revealed plans to remake 1990s classic Once a Thief <縱橫四海>, and is eyeing Huang Xiaoming (黃曉明), Michelle Chen (陳妍希), and South Korean star Kim Soo Hyun (金秀賢) to take on the film’s lead roles.

Once a Thief, from famous director John Woo (吳宇森), was a box office success when it was released in 1991. The original tale starred Chow Yun Fat (周潤發), Cherie Chung (鍾楚紅), and Leslie Cheung (張國榮) as three orphans who were raised by a crime boss to become highly skilled art thieves. The three were on a mission in Paris when they were tipped off about the location of a valuable painting. The crime boss assists the group with retrieving the artwork, though afterwards betrayed them by secretly sending assassins to take their lives. The three became separated during the chase and did not meet again until three years later. The crime boss once again asks for their help, but this time the three are determined to bring him to justice.

Producer Chang confirmed on April 1 that he is currently negotiating film rights for the remake and has plans to begin filming in early 2015. He has already secured French investors, making this a joint production between China and France. However, he also cites this as a reason for a completely new script. “Most of the film will be shot in France, but the story will be completely different from the original. Since it is a co-production, the old story may touch a sensitive nerve and may not pass Mainland’s censorship standards, so there will be major changes to the plot.”

Chang is looking to cast Huang Xiaoming in Chow Yun Fat’s role. Popular South Korean actor Kim Soo Hyun, of You Who Came From The Stars <來自星星的你> fame, is being considered to play Leslie Cheung’s character. Although Soo Hyun’s participation would certainly generate noise for the film, Chang is not sure whether he will sign on since the actor is due to report to his compulsory military service next summer.

Michelle Chen is currently in the running for Cherie Chung’s role, and producer Chang has nothing but praises for the Taiwanese actress. “I think Michelle really looks like Cherie. I feel that Michelle is an actress with great potential. It’s just that she hasn’t found the right script after You Are the Apple of My Eye <那些年,我們一起追的女孩>.”


This article is written by Katrine for

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    1. Why her again? What does all the current popular producers see in her I do not see. I will watch her coming drama before making judgements. I have to admit her previous TW drama are very boring. She was quite a boring actress. Who knows, she may have improved leaps and bounds.

  1. m’sian chinese will boycott all yr movies and drama….

  2. Huang Xiao Ming! So excited!
    Kim So Hyun! *cross finger* please accept, but is he too cute to replace Leslie. Still hope he accepted. About a millitary, I hear he got permission to delay.
    Michelle Chen? Who is she? Sorry I really didn’t know her *truthfully* maybe I ever watched her movie or drama but I can recognize her.

  3. This fool is in every movie. He needs to calm down.

  4. No one can play Fatt Gor’s character except Fatt Gor himself!! And yes, Woo, i agree with you…too much of him….overexposed..and sorry to say, Michelle does not have the elegance and feminine beauty of Cherrie…

    1. Don’t mean to be bashing Michelle Chen, but I also think that casting her in a role played by Cherrie doesn’t seem right. She’s pretty in her own way but somehow usually cast in unsuitable roles which doesn’t make her shine. Watching her in the movie ‘Together’ with Donnie Yen was agonizing. Can’t imagine watching her in this remake….

  5. When I first read this news a few days ago, my first reaction was: NO!!!!!!

    Once a Thief is one of my favorite HK movies of all time and the original cast is absolutely IRREPLACEABLE! Please DO NOT ruin such a great movie by remaking it with ‘idol’ stars…we don’t need a ‘younger’ version of the movie — it’s perfectly fine the way it is. Argh!!

    1. i believe there’s also a Korean version of A Better Tomorrow?

    2. Me too. Gosh, they are really running low on ideas and must remake everything. I guess I will just not watch if this does get remade. I really wish they would leave the classics alone.

      1. Exactly. I was hoping that those HK producers would have learned a lesson from that horrible Young and Dangerous remake that Wong Jing insisted on doing and leave the classics alone in the future (especially the popular classics)…I guess not….

  6. So many Leslie’s movies are being remade, leave classics alone. HXM is the king of remakes. He’s popping up everywhere. And Michelle as cherie? I don’t see it, I still can’t get over the whole XLN thing.

  7. HXM is supposed to be the new CYF? He seems to take over such roles in remakes. He’s really overrated and looks kinda unnatural. He acts kinda stiff and looks kinda stiff.

    1. Agreed! Even tho i like HXM but no one can replace Fat Gor!

      1. Even if he tries, stiff-as-wood HXM would never be able to imitate Fat gor’s easy, debonair charisma.

  8. Bad idea. I loved the original once a thief, but truth to be told, the plot was pretty weak and sometimes quite ridiculous at times. What made the movie so awesome was the charisma and screen presence of its stars (and also the action scenes that John Woo is so famous for). Without Cherie, CYF or Leslie, I can’t imagine the remake being even half as good as the original. Leave the classics as they are!

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