Hess, who also directed Jack Black's wrestling film Nacho Libre, has signed on to lead the long-awaited third film in the franchise, which is titled Shanghai Dawn.

Original stars Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson are currently in negotiations to reprise their roles for the film after starring in the 2000 movie and its 2003 follow-up, Shanghai Knights.

While plot details for the third instalment are being kept under wraps, the first film was a buddy comedy centring on a Chinese man played by Chan who is forced to work with Wilson's outlaw character in order to save a Chinese princess.

Hess would be the third director in the franchise - Failure to Launch's Tom Dey helmed Shanghai Noon, while Wilson's Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin lead Shanghai Knights.

Screenwriters Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, who penned the first two films, wrote the story for Shanghai Knights, while a new duo, Theodore Riley and Aaron Buchsbaum, penned the script.

News of Hess' new project come on the heels of reports a sequel to Napoleon Dynamite, the independent movie which turned out to be a box office hit in 2004, is in development.

The film, which starred Jon Heder as a hapless high school student grossed nearly $45 million (£34.8 million) at the U.S. box office upon its debut.

Heder recently told BBC Music Get Playing he is up for a possible franchise return, saying, "Nothing's written on paper, it's written in the stars. We have yet to translate the stars, but who knows? It could happen. I feel that the stories of Napoleon aren't complete."