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MAR
18
4 MOS

Zhang Yimou in Talks to Direct Legendary's 'Great Wall' (Exclusive)

Ed Zwick was previously on board to direct the fantasy-adventure.

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Zhang Yimou

Legendary’s Great Wall is being rebuilt.

The pet project of Legendary CEO Thomas Tull, who conceived it with World War Z writer Max Brooks, came close to being made in 2012 before scheduling and creative issues forced a rethink.

Sources now tell The Hollywood Reporter that Zhang Yimou, the acclaimed director behind movies such as House of Flying Daggers and Raise the Red Lantern, is in talks to direct Great Wall.

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The feature is expected to fall under Legendary Pictures’ Asian division, Legendary East, although Legendary declined to comment. Sources also say this movie is the first of many that Legendary is expected to make as the company renews its focus on China.

Great Wall’s script will be getting a rewrite, although the basic concept will remain: the mystery and secret origin of why the Great Wall was built.

The previous iteration, which had Ed Zwick on board to direct, had a supernatural bent and was going to star Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker as British soldiers traveling through 15th century China who witness the construction of the massive edifice that will one day be known as the Great Wall. They soon discover that its intended purpose is not to keep out human beings, but terrifying creatures.

Zhang’s body of work ranges from dramas Raise the Red Lantern to martial arts epics such as Hero and House of Flying Daggers. He is an icon in his home country and also directed the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In February he came on board to direct The Parsifal Mosaic, Universal's adaptation of the 1982 Robert Ludlum novel.

Zhang is repped by CAA.