China's First Astronaut Heads for the Silver Screen

The movie aims to raise funds for needy children in China and is set to open during the Lunar New Year, the Oriental Daily reported.

Yang, who acquired national celebrity status after becoming China's first man in space in October 2003, has expressed interest in raising money for the cause and is currently negotiating details with the filmmakers, the report said.

The stellar cast, comprising more than 30 celebrities and some of China's biggest sports stars, will include gymnast-turned-businessman Li Ning, who won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympic Games, the report said.

Veteran Olympic shooter Wang Yifu and gymnast Liu Xuan will also appear, it said. Actor Sun Honglei, who starred in Tsui's latest martial arts spectacle, ''Seven Swords,'' will also take part, the report said.

Both Tsui and his wife, fellow filmmaker Nansun Shi, were not in Hong Kong and could not be reached to confirm the report, a woman who answered the phone at Tsui's company said.

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