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Former Paramount president Adam Goodman will produce Rob Minkoff’s animated adaptation of the award-winning Chinese novel Wolf Totem for Le Vision Entertainment, the production company launched last year by Goodman and Chinese tech firm LeEco.
The resumption of the project — which was first touted in 2015 — was announced by LeEco vice chairman Zhang Zhao, Goodman and Minkoff during the Shanghai International Film Festival this week, where Minkoff is serving on the international competition jury.
The film’s story will follow the experiences of a young student from Beijing who is sent to the countryside of Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, where he meets native shepherds and learns about the special bond they share with wolves.
The same material was previously adapted successfully for the big screen by Jean-Jacques Annaud as the 2014 Chinese-French co-production Wolf Totem. It earned $123 million at the Chinese box office.
It won’t be Minkoff’s first time working in China. In 2008, he directed The Forbidden Kingdom (2008), starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li; the martial arts period film remains one of the most successful official China-U.S. co-productions to date. But Minkoff is perhaps best known for co-directing the classic Disney animation The Lion King.
Le Vision is best known in the West as the Chinese co-producer of Legendary’s ill-fated Chinese-U.S. tentpole The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon. In the Middle Kingdom the production company has had more success, however, producing Tiny Times, the biggest-grossing film franchise in China, as well as investing in the Expendables franchise.
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