Zhang Ziyi and Hong Kong actor Aaron Kwok will play a couple suffering from AIDS in director Gu Changwei's first-ever feature film tackling the issue, entitled "The Era of Magic."
Aaron Kwok was spotted on the set in Beijing Tuesday with a bearded and weary look, the Beijing News reports.
The film, adapted from a novel, tells a tragic love story between two AIDS-afflicted lovers. Kwok plays a primary school teacher who is sent from the city to teach in the countryside, but contracts AIDS and develops a crush on Zhang Ziyi's character, also an AIDS patient.
Director Gu Changwei insists Zhang Ziyi as the right actress for the lead, despite her recent embroilment in a slew of scandals about her personal life and alleged donation fraud.
Gu thinks the internationally famous Zhang will ensure a box office cache for the upcoming film.
Reportedly, award-winning actress Jiang Wenli, wife of director Gu, was cast in a supporting role.
Other big names joining the cast for very little pay include Pu Cunxin, Cai Guoqing, Li Xuejian and Li Danyang - all ambassadors of an anti-AIDS public campaign, the paper says, citing unnamed sources.