John Woo is teaming with IMAX to bring his upcoming film Flying Tigers to the really big screen. The story centers on “U.S. Army Air Corp Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault — the contentious American officer whose volunteer Flying Tigers squadron trained the first generation of Chinese fighter pilots taking on Japan in WWII.” IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond told THR that “Woo’s passion and the story lend themselves in scope to an IMAX film. John is so visual and his great talent will help us from the start to make sure that the IMAX version of [Flying Tigers] realizes the technology’s potential.”
Regarding who will play Chennault, Woo says “It’s got to be a star but it’s hard to find the right one, because at that time Chennault was almost 50 years old. Ideally, I’ve been thinking of Liam Neeson as the title actor.” Woo would also like Chinese actor Liu Ye (City of Life and Death) to play the role of a young pilot in training opposite Chennault. Pre-production on the $90 million film is set to begin next month in China. Filming is slated to begin next spring for a late 2011 release date.