Protege, a movie described as Hong Kong's answer to Traffic and Donnie Brasco, recently got script approval from the Chinese government, and immediately went into production in HK. The film, which is budgeted at about $4.5 million and is expected to be ready for release early next year, is "a realistic portrayal of the underworld shot in a contemporary way" that centers on a drug dealer (supposedly a real-life figure, though no one has any details about the guy) and his protege. Derek Yee will direct a cast that includes the ageless Andy Lau (who I'm always surprised to see can actually act) as the dealer and Daniel Wu as the protege; also in the movie are Louise Koo and Anita Yuen.

Though the film's producers claim that no changes were made to please government censors, the constant emphasis in the press on their positive message -- "drugs kill and drugs are bad" -- at least makes clear the angle they used to get approval. Whether the finished product will get approval, of course, remains to be seen.