Jackie Chan to Star in Historical Epic 'Dragon Blade'

6:33 AM PST 04/17/2014 by Clifford Coonan
Jackie Chan

Directed by Daniel Lee and co-starring an as-yet-unnamed Hollywood A-lister, the big-budget film tells the story of Roman soldiers who get lost in ancient China.

Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan has announced his next project, historical action epic Dragon Blade, in which he will star opposite an as-yet-unnamed Hollywood star.

“All I can say is that he’s a foreigner -- an A-list Hollywood star, a big name,” Chan told a news conference at the Beijing International Film Festival, when asked about the identity of the Hollywood actor who will appear in the film.

Chinese websites have speculated for weeks that Mel Gibson is the man in question.

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Chan said the film will have a record-breaking budget for China. It marks the first investment by the two-billion-yuan ($320 million) Beijing Cultural Assets Chinese Film & Television Fund. It will be directed by Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon director, Daniel Lee. The film is about Roman soldiers lost in ancient China.

Dragon Blade is scheduled for global release in 3D IMAX in China, and in international markets, on the Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day (Feb. 19) next year. The holiday is a major moviegoing day in the country. 

As well as the Beijing Cultural Assets Chinese Film & Television Fund, the investors also include Huayi Brothers and Shanghai Film Group.

Beijing Cultural Assets Chinese Film & Television Fund is a giant fund composed of some of the biggest players in the state-owned media sector, including the Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the Beijing Municipality People's Government.

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It also includes CITIC Asset Management Corporation, a leading state-run financial institution; the film and TV production company Sparkle Roll Group and Beijing All Media and Culture Group, which is managed by the Beijing Propaganda Department.

Dragon Blade marks Lee’s first collaboration with Chan. Chan said the Hollywood star, and additional castmembers, will be announced soon.

Chan will play a military leader, Huo An, and said he had been prepping the role for seven years, inspired by the documented evidence of Roman descendants and Roman ruins in Liqian village in Northwest China's Gansu province during the Han Dynasty.

Intrigued by the project's possibilities, Chan brought in Lee to write and direct a film about ancient Romans lost in ancient China.

Secondary crews were already shooting at Hengdian World Studios, and would also head to the historic city of Dunhuang and the Gobi Desert to create the film's epic backdrop. Chan was due to join the crew after the news briefing.

Lee presented Chan with a "royal decree" at the press conference, explaining that, in ancient China, emperors would issue such decrees to generals before they left for battle.

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