The news and rumors surrounding Iron Man 3 are already reaching a fever-pitch as Neon Punch is now reporting that Andy Lau is in final negotiations to play a sizable role in the movie. Lau is perhaps best known for starring in the Chinese crime movie Infernal Affairs, which was remade in the U.S. as The Departed.

The site is reporting a rumor that Lau will be playing an old friend of Tony Stark's that "represents China’s technology sector – and will use China’s armored heroes to HELP Iron Man defeat 'The Mandarin' who is seen as a terrorist against both the US and China."

The suggestion here is that "The Mandarin" might be the name of an entire terrorist organization, as opposed to being a power-mad Chinese super villain like he is in the comics. Iron Man 3 is being filmed partially in China and co-financed by a Chinese entertainment company, so it makes sense that one of the country's most marketable stars will have a heroic role in the film. But remember, until we see the final product, all of this should be taken as a rumor.

Iron Man 3 will be directed by Shane Black, and it will hit theaters on May 3, 2013. 

[via Neon Punch