Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull has been trying to get a China-based epic called The Great Wall going for a number of years, to be directed by China’s most respected filmmaker Zhang Yimou, but word now comes from Deadline that actor Matt Damon may be interested in starring in the primary role, following a recent rewrite by “Bourne” scripter Tony Gilroy.
Previously Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai) was attached to direct the film from a script by Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro, and he’d gone as far as to cast Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker in key roles, but that version of the film didn’t fly, so Tull and Legendary went back to the drawing board before getting Zhang Yimou.
Since a big part of the plan for the movie is to break into the lucrative Chinese film market, having director Zhang teaming with a well-known American actor is similar to when Christian Bale starred in 2012’s Flowers of War, which barely made a dent in its $90 million reported budget either domestically or internationally.
The Great Wall is set to tell the story about the mystery behind China’s most famous landmark and how it was built with Tull producing with Chuck Roven (The Dark Knight), Jon Jashni and Alex Gartner, and Peter Loehr and Jillian Share executive producing.
Zhang Yimou’s upcoming film Coming Home, starring Gong Li, has been playing on the festival circuit with a planned release by Sony Pictures Classics in December. It is currently considered to be the frontrunner for China’s submission for the Oscars Foreign Language category, which would make it the ninth of director Zhang’s films to receive that honor. Two of those films made it to the Oscar short list for nominations–China’s only two nominations in the category–while Zhang Yimou’s Raise the Red Lantern also received an Oscar nomination but for Hong Kong.
(Photo Credit: WENN.com)