Legendary Entertainment’s The Great Wall, the Zhang Yimou-helmed epic starring Matt Damon, could be a game-changer as a rare U.S.-China co-production and is now on track to begin shooting by the end of the month. Producers today announced they have locked the cast for what will be the largest film ever shot in China for global distribution.
In addition to Damon, who boarded the project in September, Narcos star Pedro Pascal and Willem Defoe, joining up are some of the Middle Kingdom’s most famous actors including Infernal Affairs star Andy Lau, Eddie Peng and Jing Tian as well as Zhang Hanyu, Lu Han, Lin Gengxin, Zheng Kai, Chen Xuedong, Huang Xuan and Wang Junkai.
Universal Pictures has set a November 23, 2016 release date for the pic, which has been in development for a number of years with various iterations — it once had Ed Zwick helming and Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker attached. It centers on an elite force making a last stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure, which has secrets hidden beneath its stones. The script is by Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro, but the most recent draft is from Tony Gilroy, who is familiar to Damon in that he scripted the Bourne Identity films.
A Legendary and Atlas Entertainment production, the film is being produced by Thomas Tull, Charles Roven, Jon Jashni, and Peter Loehr. Jillian Share, Alex Gartner, Bennett Walsh, La Peikang and Zhang Zhao will executive produce with Er Yong, Alex Hedlund and Eric Hedayat co-producing. Legendary is partnered with Universal, China Film Co. Ltd and Le Vision Pictures.
Le Vision and China Film Co. will distribute in the lucrative China market during the 2016 holiday season.