Le Vision Signs 'Lion King' Director Rob Minkoff to Two-Picture Deal

Rob Minkoff - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Rob Minkoff - H 2015

The U.S. arm of the Chinese production giant will develop and produce Minkoff's life-action 'Silkworms' and animated feature 'Wolf Totem.'

Le Vision Pictures USA, the American arm of the Chinese production group, will develop and produce two features with The Lion King director Rob Minkhoff.

Le Vision will partner with Minkoff and producing partner Pietro Ventani's Flying Tigers Entertainment banner on the live-action comedy Silkworms and the animated feature Wolf Totem

Silkworms is the story of two bumbling monks sent by Rome to ancient China to steal the secret of Chinese silk production, a true story Minkhoff calls “the first case of industrial espionage in history.” Wolf Totem is based on the novel of the same name by Lu Jiamin and is described as the story of a life-and-death struggle on the great Mongolian plains.

“The success of the recent live-action adaptation of Wolf Totem (by director Jean-Jacques Annaud) has inspired us to take a different approach and tell the story from the wolves’ point of view. It’s what animation does best,” said Minkoff.

Le Vision’s Chairman and CEO Zhang Zhao said the two films represented the kind of “ambitious, crossover projects” the group was looking to do as it expands into English-language production.

The deal was negotiated by Steve Saltzman of Loeb & Loeb and Le Vision Pictures USA executive vp Simon Sun, as well as Cheryl Snow of Gang Tyre and Adam Kanter of Paradigm.

Minkoff directed the 2008 China-set actioner The Forbidden Kingdom, starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and is producing hot AFM title Blazing Samurai, an animated comedy inspired by Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, which Open Road will bow stateside in 2017.