EXCLUSIVE: Well Go USA has nabbed North America, UK, and Australia/New Zealand rights to Zhang Yimou’s action-epic Shadow ahead of its world premiere in Venice and its North American premiere at Toronto.

The deal was negotiated by Dylan Marchetti for Well Go USA. Endeavor Content and Bloom handled the deal. Pic will get a theatrical release in 2019, according to the distributor.

Mandarin-language film Shadow is set in Pei, a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, where the military commander faces peril both inside and outside the palace walls. But he has a secret weapon: a ‘shadow’, a look-alike who can fool both Pei’s enemies and the King himself. In his obsessive quest for a long-sought victory over a rival kingdom, the commander must execute an intricate plan involving his wife, the Shadow, and the kings of both kingdoms, leading up to a major invasion.

Cast includes Chao Deng, Li Sun, Ryan Zheng, Qianuyan Wang and Jingchun Wang. Pic is produced by Perfect Village Entertainment, Le Vision Pictures and Shanghai Tencent Pictures. It was written by Zhang and Li Wei and produced by Ellen Eliasoph, Zhang Zhao, Pang Liwei, Liu Jun, and Wang Xiaozhu.

Perfect Village was established last year as a partnership between Perfect World Pictures, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, and WME | IMG China.

Chinese master Zhang, known for wuxia classics such as Hero and House of Flying Daggers, dramas Raise The Red Lantern and Ju Dou and big-budget titles The Great Wall and The Flowers Of War, was inspired by the tradition of Chinese ink-wash painting when coming up with the palette for Shadow.

“We’re delighted to be working with Well Go on the release of Shadow in the English-speaking territories” said Ellen Eliasoph, President and CEO of Perfect Village Entertainment Group. “Well Go’s experience with contemporary Asian films runs deep, and their warm embrace of Shadow gives us confidence that director Zhang’s stunning new work will find its widest possible audience.”

“Several of us here at Well Go can draw a straight line from the first time seeing Zhang Yimou’s films to our roles in the industry today,” added Dylan Marchetti, SVP of Acquisitions and Theatrical Releasing at Well Go. “It’s impossible to explain how excited and honored we are to have the privilege of working with him, especially on a film as stunning and innovative as Shadow, and how much we look forward to giving it one of the largest releases we’ve done to date.”