Edward Zwick to Direct THE GREAT WALL for Legendary East

     August 23, 2011


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:


  • 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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  • FincherFan

    Truly one of the most underrated directors ever. The Last Samurai, Glory, and Blood Diamond especially are pure masterpieces. This sounds like it will be equally interesting.

    • Hiro the Eighth Samurai (and 14th Assassin)

      Glory’s incredible, I have yet to see all of Blood Diamond, but Last Samurai’s a ridiculously preposterous piece of junk that’s more white-guy fantasy than anything resembling reality.
      I bet this new Great Wall movie is going to be like Last Samurai, but set in China instead. So which white guy is going to be the hero in Great Wall? Maybe they’ll cast Chinese people to do his laundry.

      • FincherFan

        You really should see all of Blood Diamond when you get the chance….it’s a pretty powerful movie. And I did go a little far in proclaiming The Last Samurai so highly and on the level of the other two films, but I and many others did enjoy it. And I don’t think “The Great Wall” will have a white-centered cast due to the fact that the studio is called Legendary Pictures EAST and is based out of Hong Kong, but we’ll reserve judgment until casting is announced.

      • Giselle

        Word is Henry Cavill.

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  • JasonMan

    Blood Diamond is a bad movie made even worse by DiCaprio’s bad accent (in a role that was superfluous to begin with).

    Zwick loves telling nonwhite stories with a white lead in them (e.g. Glory, Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) so I am curious how he is going to shove a white guy in this one.

    • FincherFan

      You state that like it’s a fact, not an opinion.

      • JasonMan

        Well, DiCaprio’s accent is objectively bad. That isn’t an opinion. Me thinking that the movie itself is bad is an opinion, you are correct. However, it isn’t an opinion that Zwick, like most of Hollywood, don’t like telling nonwhite stories with nonwhite leads. There always has to be white people at the center of it somehow. This is insulting and needs to stop.

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  • drew

    The Zionists of Hollywood are now marching their broodish ilk over into China vis a vis the British ex-colony of Hong Kong in order to expand their pretentious Euro-centric agenda of subordinated mass mind control. Illuminatti backed financiers grin with evil delight as they disguise this agenda with terms like “world-cinema” or “EAST” when in fact, they continue to rape the collective hearts and minds of peace-loving, introspective Buddhist-originated peoples. This propagandic machine has to be stopped, boycott the film. Picket it’s release, while in doing so demand indigenous film makers to interpret their own history for celluloid!

  • jock nicolson

    defiance moved me. edward zwick and co, keep on doing what you do….. i for one, love your films.

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