Willem Dafoe Joining Matt Damon in Legendary's 'Great Wall' (Exclusive)

Willem Dafoe - P 2014
<p>Willem Dafoe - P 2014</p>   |   AP Photo/Abraham Caro Marin
Zhang Yimou is directing the pet project of Legendary CEO Thomas Tull.

Willem Dafoe has signed to join Matt Damon in The Great Wall, Legendary’s fantastical retelling of the origin of China’s wondrous barrier.

Zhang Yimou is directing the feature that is a pet project of Legendary CEO Thomas Tull, who conceived it with World War Z writer Max Brooks.

It is eyeing an April start in China.

Damon, who is in final negotiations, will star as a soldier who is part of a group of mercenaries traveling to China in order to bring back gunpowder to Europe. When the group is attacked by mystical beasts, the man finds himself in a war between a secret warrior clan and the beasts.

Dafoe's character role is being kept under wraps. 

Dafoe is coming off a banner year, that started with by being part of the ensemble of Wes Anderson's Oscar-nominated film The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Appearing in the hit weepie The Fault In Our Stars and A Most Wanted Man followed, then he capped it off with a turn in John Wick, the fan-favorite Keanu Reeves action movie.

He is repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion.

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Feb. 12 6:55. A previous version of this story said Dafoe was playing a soldier who survives with Damon.