The rumors that Stephen Chow would be putting off his planned sequel to international hit Kung Fu Hustle were finally confirmed yesterday, when it was announced that Chow's next project will be the sci-fi flick the internet has been muttering about for weeks. The film, which is currently called A Hope, will star Chow as a wayward astronaut who "accidentally lands on another planet." But it doesn't stop there -- get this: "Through the help of a robot who communicates with aliens, the astronaut develops a father-son relationship with a young alien." Whoa. The role of the alien has yet to be cast (and there's no truth to the rumor that Chow is looking for green-skinned youngsters whose eyes grow on stalks), but Zhang Yuqi will play an android, and Chow regulars Yuen Qiu, Danny Kwok-kwan Chan and Tin Kai-man are also confirmed.

So is Chow moving into tear-jerkingly sincere family films? My experience with him is limited to fantastic, utter insanity (of which God of Cookery is the best example); has he done anything like this -- or at least like this sounds -- before? It'll be interesting to see how this one shakes out, when we finally get to see it next year. Kung Fu Hustle 2, meanwhile, will be pushed back from its 2006 release date, reportedly to allow Chow time to work on the script.