Legendary Pictures is putting The Great Wall back together. The project initially came very close to production with Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai) directing and Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) in the lead roles, but scheduling issues and creative differences brought the film to a halt. The central conceit—which was hatched by Legendary CEO Thomas Tull and World War Z author Max Brooks—explores the mystery behind why The Great Wall was constructed in China. In Zwick’s iteration, supernatural forces played a role as the wall was built not to keep anyone in, but to keep terrifying creatures out.
Though it was over a year ago that Zwick dropped out, Legendary is going to try to get The Great Wall moving again with Hero director Zhang Yimou. Hit the jump for more.
Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai) is no longer onboard to direct the supernatural epic The Great Wall. The film was recently postponed due to lack of financing and weather issues, at which point Zwick committed to directing the Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice with Tobey Maguire. Now Deadline reports that Zwick is off The Great Wall altogether. The period pic, based on an idea by Legendary CEO Thomas Tull and World War Z author Max Brooks, explores “the mysteries” behind the construction of The Great Wall in China. Two 15th century British soldiers get caught up in the havoc caused by some inhuman element that the builders of the wall are trying to keep out.
Before the project was postponed, Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) were set as the leads, but it’s unclear if they’ll still be available when the film moves forward again. Though Zwick has dropped off, Legendary East apparently still plans on starting production next year.
Ed Zwick (Love and Other Drugs) has signed on to direct Pawn Sacrifice, a biopic about chess master Bobby Fischer. Tobey Maguire is attached to star and produce. The current draft of the script by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) focuses on Fischer’s rise to prominence in the 1960s, leading up to his famous match against Soviet chess player Boris Spassky in 1972.
THR reports that Zwick’s schedule opened up once The Great Wall—a supernatural epic that Zwick is attached to direct—was delayed as Legendary Pictures seeks funding. That leaves Zwick free to step in for David Fincher, who was previously linked to direct. I imagine Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice will be very different than Fincher’s Pawn Sacrifice—the directors are on the opposite ends of the cinematic emotion spectrum. Zwick is the safer choice, but I think the story is inherently interest, and Zwick is certainly competent enough to tap into that potential.
Opening this weekend is director Timur Bekmambetov‘s (Wanted) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Based on the book of the same name from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith and produced by Tim Burton, the film imagines that Lincoln’s mother and grandfather were killed by a vampire and that the president’s resolve to end slavery was due in part to the “fact” that vampires were involved with the slave trade. Playing Lincoln is newcomer Benjamin Walker and he stars alongside Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie, Dominic Cooper, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. For more on the film, here’s all our previous coverage and three clips with twenty minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.
A few days ago I got to speak with Walker and Mackie. We talked about their favorite movies, their reaction to seeing the finished film and how it compared to what they thought it would be when they signed on, deleted scenes, and future projects like The Great Wall and Gangster Squad. Hit the jump to watch.
Just a few days ago, we learned that the co-lead opposite Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill in director Edward Zwick’s The Great Wall was down to either Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) or Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). The decision-making process wasn’t stretched out much further, as Variety now reports that Walker has landed the role. The period pic explores “the mysteries” behind the construction of The Great Wall in China, and apparently involves some inhuman element that the builders of the wall are trying to keep out. Cavill and Walker will play 15th century British soldiers who stumble upon the construction of the wall, and presumably get caught up in the havoc that this supernatural presence brings.
Walker is a relatively untested actor on the big screen. He had bit parts in Kinsey and Flags of Our Fathers, but he stretched his chops in the Broadway play Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. We’ll get our first good look at Walker in a starring role in this summer’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai) is gearing up to start production on his period epic The Great Wall, and producers are now mulling over two actors to take on the co-lead role opposite Man of Steel star (aka the new Superman) Henry Cavill. Deadline reports that the decision is now between True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker. Previously all we’d known about the film was that it “looks at the mystery behind how China’s Great Wall was constructed.” Now a new logline shines a bit more light on the project, as the film centers on British warriors traveling through 15th Century China who realize “there is something inhuman and more dangerous” that the builders of the titular wall are trying to keep out. Hit the jump for more.
While it feels like Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel has been filming forever, star Henry Cavill is finally looking to book his first post-Superman role. Variety reports that Cavill is now in negotiations to star in director Edward Zwick’s (The Last Samurai) period epic The Great Wall. The film “looks at the mystery behind how China’s Great Wall was constructed.” Zwick wrote the screenplay with Marshall Herskovitz, based on a story by World War Z author Max Brooks and Thomas Tull.
No other plot details are given, but historically speaking the Great Wall was constructed in the 5th century BC in order to keep nomadic groups out of the Chinese Empire. It’s unknown what kind of approach Zwick will take, or what kind of character Cavill will play. The actor was recently seen in Immortals, but we’ve got quite a while to wait before we see him don the tights. Man of Steel opens June 14th, 2013.
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.