(L-R) Pam Collis, Antony Szeto, Juju Chan, Janice Eymann, Wayne Borg,Tony Cheng and Kent Chen.

Chinese/American actress Juju Chan, hailed as a female Bruce Lee by her fans, is in negotiations to play the lead role in Pepper, an action-thriller scripted by Janice Eymann.

Australian-born, Hong Kong-based director/actor/producer Antony Szeto is set to direct the film, the saga of a secret agent who comes to Far North Queensland in search of her missing brother, a fellow agent.

Eymann and fellow producers Pam Collis and Paul O’Kane are developing the project with Tony Cheng, the chairman of Beijing Tong Fa Group, and Kent Chen, the group’s director/general manager.  

The aim is to shoot the film next year, possibly as a Chinese-Australian co-production, which would benefit from the favorable terms of releasing Chinese films in mainland cinemas.

Juju’s credits include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny directed by Yuen Woo Ping, and producer Roger Corman’s Fist of the Dragon and Palace of the Damned, both directed by Szeto.

The CEO of Filmworks Company, Eymann first got the idea for the film 15 years ago when she and her husband operated a lodge in the Daintree, when there were a number of drug-related murders.

Szeto sparked to the script and introduced Eymann to Cheng and Chen, who are developing a slate of films and came to Australia a couple of weeks ago on a familiarisation visit, accompanied by Szeto and Chan. The visit included meetings with Fox Studios Australia CEO Wayne Borg and reps of Screen Australia, Ausfilm, Create NSW and Spectrum Films.

The producers are keen to cast an A-lister as the male lead, a cane fields cowboy and ex-Special Forces operative who teams up with Juju’s character who is nicknamed Pepper. The film will primarily be in English with some dialogue in Mandarin.

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