Zhang Yimou's new film reveals star-studded cast

2015-03-12 05:25:56 GMT2015-03-12 13:25:56(Beijing Time)  China Daily
Chinese director Zhang Yimou's new science fiction movie "Great Wall" will star (from left to right) Andy Lau, Matt Damon, Zhang Hanyu and Willem Dafoe. [Photo/Mtime.com]Chinese director Zhang Yimou's new science fiction movie "Great Wall" will star (from left to right) Andy Lau, Matt Damon, Zhang Hanyu and Willem Dafoe. [Photo/Mtime.com]

Famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou's new science fiction movie "Great Wall" will star Chinese megastar Andy Lau and American actor Matt Damon, Chinese media reported on Wednesday.

According to Sina.com.cn, the already confirmed cast will include Lau, Chinese actors Zhang Hanyu and Lin Gengxin, Chinese actress Jing Tian, as well as American actors Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe.

The film will be the first blockbuster from Zhang in years after he signed with new partner LeVision Pictures in 2013. Zhang directed a critically-applauded art house movie for LeVision Pictures in 2014, "Coming Home," starring veteran actors Gong Li and Chen Daoming. LeVision Pictures CEO Zhang Zhao previously said the studio was collaborating with Legendary East, Legendary Pictures' Chinese venture, on "Great Wall" with budget as big as US$135 million.

It will also be the first film in English by Zhang Yimou.

"This is obviously the biggest Chinese movie ever. It's the first-ever official big budget co-production," Zhang Zhao told the Hollywood Reporter in November 2014.

 The film, will reportedly answer the mystery and secret origin of why the Great Wall was built from a new angle. The story tells of European mercenary soldiers traveling to 11th century China to steal the formula for gunpowder while they encountered a mysterious Chinese army. They then fight monsters along the Great Wall to save the human race from a disaster. The idea came from Legendary CEO Thomas Tull, who conceived the idea with "World War Z" writer Max Brooks.

LeVision Pictures will be the co-distributor of the film in China, and Universal Pictures will release the film to worldwide markets as Universal and Legendary entered into a multi-year film partnership starting in 2014.

It is very interesting that Zhang Yimou has parted ways with his former producer Zhang Weiping while Legendary also split from its former collaborator Warner Bros. The project means a new chapter in their new phase of their careers.

The film is scheduled for release on Nov 23, 2016 in the United States, but the release date for China has not been given.

Preparation for "Great Wall" began in January 2015, Mtime.com reported. More than 850 crew members have begun working on the project. The film will start shooting in Qingdao as early as April.

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Editor: Zhao Wei
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