EXCLUSIVE: Simu Liu has landed his first project after wrapping Marvel Studios’ forthcoming Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The actor is attached to join Mark Wahlberg in Arthur the King, directed by Simon Cellan Jones, who is stepping in to helm the adventure pic after Baltasar Kormakur exited due to scheduling conflicts.
The film from Entertainment One and Tucker Tooley Entertainment is based on the 2017 book Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord. Michael Brandt adapted the book, and production is set to begin in January in the Dominican Republic.
Sierra/Affinity launched sales for Arthur the King at the virtual Cannes market this year, when Lionsgate was set to handle the film on a domestic front. Lionsgate took over the reins after Paramount Players bowed out. Deadline also has learned that Lionsgate has stepped down as the studio. The company had no comment about exiting the project.
Inspired by a true story, Arthur the King follows Lindnord, captain of a Swedish adventure racing team who met and befriended a wounded stray dog during a 400-mile race through the Ecuadoran jungle where they crossed rivers and battled illness and injury through some of the world’s toughest terrain. Wahlberg will play the Swedish adventurer, while Liu will play the role of Liam.
Tucker Tooley (We’re the Millers, Den of Thieves), Mark Canton (300, Power), Courtney Solomon, Tessa Tooley, Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson will produce, and Dorothy Canton, Michael Brandt, Lindnord will executive produce. Production companies are Tucker Tooley Entertainment, Atmosphere Entertainment, Closest to the Hole Productions and Leverage Communications.
In Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Liu is set to star alongside Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Ronnie Chieng, Meng’er Zhang and Florian Munteanu. Liu is making history as the star of the first Asian-fronted movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang Chi is set to open July 9. Liu also stars in the popular CBC series Kim’s Convenience, which was renewed for Seasons 5 and 6. The actor recently completed shooting the fifth season. He is repped by CAA, Authentic Talent and Literary Management and Sloane Offer.
Jones’s directing credits include Ballers, Shooter, Jessica Jones, and Years and Years. He is repped by the Gersh Agency.
Suliman recently starred in 200 Meters. He is repped by Hannah Hodgkinson, Paradigm Talent Agency and Zero Gravity Management.
Collins’ credits include Extraction and Mystery Road. He is repped by Innovative Artists and Shanahan Management.
Wahlberg and Mikael Lindnord are repped by WME.