After some troubled early stages of production which saw Henry Cavill departing and Matt Damon stepping in to replace him, the supernatural meets historical epic “The Great Wall” went into production and is now finally headed for release in February next year.
Timed with the release of Damon’s “Jason Bourne” this week, Legendary and Universal have unveiled the first photos and trailer for the $135 million-budget film which is the first English language feature of acclaimed helmer Zhang Yimou (“Hero,” “House of Flying Daggers”).
Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Zhang Hanyu and Eddie Peng also star in the film about a group of elite warriors who band together to defeat mythical creatures who threaten the Great Wall of China. Speaking with EW, Yimou says that aside from the fantastical aspect of the monsters – they kept the rest of the story as grounded and historically accurate to the period as possible:
“The film takes place about 1,000 years ago. At its core, it is a period piece and an action film. The fantasy element does play a major role because of the monsters. But, what makes our film unique is that these are ancient Chinese monsters. Even though it’s a fantasy movie, we filmed it in a very realistic way. We want it to feel like the events actually happened. Other than the monster, all aspects of this film are backed by either scientific or historical research.”
Yimou says that though the script was written by American screenwriters, when he came onboard he “wanted to make sure everything Chinese in this film feels genuine”. The first film of the Legendary East division of Legendary Pictures, the international co-production has serious Chinese backing and a concerted effort to market a blockbuster grounded largely in China’s own heritage and starpower. The film hits China and the U.S. on February 17th.