Hackford Directs Shanghai’s Merchant

Taylor Hackford (“Devil’s Advocate,” “Ray”) will direct the English-language biopic “Merchant of Shanghai” reports Variety.

The story follows opium dealer and property magnate Silas Hardoon, a 19th century Baghdad Jew who immigrated to Shanghai, became a kingpin in the opium trade, and helped transform Shanghai from an obscure backwater to a major international city.

Screenwriter Timothy J. Sexton (“Children of Men”) will rewrite the script. Hackford aims to start shooting in Fall ’09 in Shanghai and surrounding areas.