Doug Liman has come aboard as presenter of The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman, a Mandarin-language film that was made for China by Fox International Productions but will make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by Chinese filmmaker Wuershan, the film has the kind of visual stylized martial arts action that could give it a shot to break out beyond China, where it will be released this fall.
Sanford Panitch, who left New Regency to run the Fox that is generating local language films for territories that include China, Korea, Spain, India and Russia, worked with Liman when he was a New Regency exec on Mrs. and Mrs. Smith and Jumper. He showed the film to the director and Liman wanted to get involved.
Liman, who’ll follow Fair Game with the Japanese novel adaptation All You Need Is Kill for Warner Bros, sparked to the Chinese film and will help promote it as it plays in Toronto’s Midnight Madness program. “Wuershan’s debut movie is so wildly imaginative, it changed my perception of China as a whole,” Liman said. “It is a thrill to present this first time Chinese director to the international community.” The film follows the journey of a mystical blade as it passes through the hands of three different men. They find its power to be double-edged. It gets them their wildest desires, but also has the power to corrupt. The film’s a co-production between Fox International Productions and First Cut Features.
Fox made its first foray into China with the co-production Hot Summer Days, which grossed over $19 million in China alone and become one of the biggest Hollywood-generated local language productions ever released there. The studio’s next film is Love in Space, made by Hot Summer Days writer/directors Wing Shya and Tony Chan. FIP released five films last year and is making 15 films in 10 countries. Below is the trailer for The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman.