While Matt Damon recently withdrew from consideration for Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s (House of Flying Daggers) action film The Great Wall, Legendary Entertainment is moving full-speed ahead with the picture. The film was initially developed with director Edward Zwick and was poised to star Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker, but it was postponed due to financing and weather issues. Legendary started the film back up again with Yimou, and it is poised to be the first film to emerge from the company’s Legendary East banner. Described as “a period action spectacular with sci-fi elements and a massive plot twist”, the film is based on an idea by Legendary CEO Thomas Tull and World War Z author Max Brooks, and 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.
And now, as Legendary gears up to begin production in early 2016, it has been confirmed that The Great Wall will mark Yimou’s first English-language film. More after the jump.
Per Variety, Legendary confirmed that The Great Wall will be the first English-language film from the director behind House of Flying Daggers and the Christian Bale-fronted The Flowers of War. Moreover, the budget for the picture has been set at $135 million. That’s a solid amount of money to bring the film to fruition, and Yimou has plenty of experience working on a variety of scales, as he conceived of the brilliant opening and closing ceremonies to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Filming on The Great Wall is poised to begin in February 2016 and the plan is for the film to also be delivered in 2016. Bryan Cranston was recently reported as being in talks to co-star in the film, but as of yet official casting hasn’t been announced though it is currently underway. As the first film out of Legendary East, the film will no doubt be produced with a worldwide audience in mind. Legendary has had a really solid track record of not kowtowing to the lowest common denominator, so I’m very curious to see how this one turns out.