Edward Zwick to Direct THE GREAT WALL for Legendary East

     August 23, 2011

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Director Edward Zwick is going to China. The Last Samurai director is set to helm the inaugural film for Legendary East, The Great Wall. Zwick and his longtime writing partner Marshall Herskovitz will pen the screenplay for the flick that “reveals the legend behind a great mystery of our age: why this magnificent structure came to be.” The script will be based on a story by Legendary Entertainment Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull and World War Z author Max Brooks. Tull is also producing alongside Jon Jashni, Alex Gartner, Charles Roven (The Dark Knight Rises) as well as Zwick and Herskovitz.

The wall itself was originally constructed in the 5th century BC to keep out nomadic groups from the Chinese Empire, but has a storied history as it has been rebuilt, added to, and maintained throughout multiple culturally significant periods in China’s history. Hit the jump for more, including the full press release.

great-wall-of-china-imageLegendary East is a standalone entertainment company based in Hong Kong that is positioned to produce films that are as commercially viable in China as they are worldwide. Zwick said that the company has given him “a chance to create an adventure on a grand scale,” so it’s safe to say that The Great Wall will be fairly epic.

It’ll be interesting to Zwick’s take on ancient China. There’s a litany of great material in China’s history, a small portion of which has been given the cinematic treatment. The Great Wall is definitely a return to more grand-scale films after the director’s character drama Love and Other Drugs from last year. Zwick is also attached to direct an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s spy thriller American Assassin, but it’s unknown which film the director will tackle first.

Here’s the full press release:

THE GREAT WALL

  • Edward Zwick will direct, and Zwick and his longtime writing and producing partner Marshall Herskovitz will write the screenplay for, Legendary East’s inaugural feature film THE GREAT WALL.
  • The project marks the first film to launch under Legendary East Ltd., a standalone entertainment company dedicated to creating feature film and related content for a worldwide audience. Based in Hong Kong, with Chinese management, strong international investors and Legendary Entertainment’s successful experience producing and financing films, Legendary East is uniquely positioned to produce content that is as commercially viable within China as it is throughout the rest of the world.
  • Zwick and Herskovitz will write the screenplay based on a story by Legendary Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull and Max Brooks (WORLD WAR Z).
  • THE GREAT WALL will be produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, Charles Roven and Alex Gartner of Atlas Entertainment, as well as Zwick and Herskovitz.
  • Zwick and Herskovitz stated: “Legendary East has given us the chance to do what we most love — to create an adventure on a grand scale.”
  • “Our partnership with Ed and Marshall is indicative of the creative ambition and financial commitment we are bringing to Legendary East — not next year or next month, but today,” said Jon Jashni, Legendary Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer, who also serves as an advisor to the Legendary East team. “Their ability to translate a sense of history while communicating emotion and wonder has been proven repeatedly.  THE GREAT WALL exemplifies the type of globally-appealing, commercial movie we intend to have Legendary East become known for.”
  • Charles Roven stated: “We always enjoy working with our friends at Legendary. We share a great past, an amazing present and an anticipated future. Alex and I are also looking forward to working with Marshall and Ed whose work we have admired.”
  • THE GREAT WALL reveals the legend behind a great mystery of our age: why this magnificent structure came to be.
  • The project will be distributed in China by Legendary East’s co-production partner, Huayi Brothers, while distribution in all other parts of the globe is anticipated to be handled by Warner Bros. Pictures, with whom Legendary Entertainment has a long-standing relationship.
  • Zwick directed, and Herskovitz and Zwick wrote and produced, THE LAST SAMURAI, a blockbuster hit that was nominated for four Academy Awards® and grossed $435 million worldwide.  Zwick also directed LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS as well as BLOOD DIAMOND, which was nominated for five Oscars®, and DEFIANCE starring Daniel Craig. Zwick and Herskovitz were nominated for an Oscar for producing the smash hit TRAFFIC.
  • Charles Roven is currently in production on THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and MAN OF STEEL, both Legendary projects with Warner Bros. Roven and Alex Gartner also previously produced the comedy blockbuster GET SMART.
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