Studios are always trying to find new ways to make money, and some ideas go bust, while others blossom. Legendary Pictures, a producer of big Hollywood hits like “The Hangover,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Town,” is taking their business to the Far East with their new standalone company called Legendary East. Their first project, according to Deadline, will be “The Great Wall,” and Ed Zwick has signed on to direct.
Legendary Entertainment‘s Thomas Tull started the branch with Asian partners in order to produce more projects that would appeal to the people of China, as well as the global community. Zwick will co-write the script with his partner Marshall Herskovitz which takes on a story dreamed up by Tull and “World War Z” author Max Brooks about the mystery behind the construction of China’s greatest landmark and one of the largest wonders of the world. Whether it will involve explosions or not remains to be seen.
Zwick is a pretty solid choice to direct, as he’s made a couple of great films over the last few years including “The Last Samurai” and “Blood Diamond.” His last couple of films, “Love and Other Drugs” and “Defiance” were misses, but he’s proven that he can handle this kind of large budget film with a grand scope. If this sort of project succeeds, we’ll likely see Hollywood more eagerly taking advantage of China’s robust economy to help back projects. Already Eastern dollars have courted name directors with Antoine Fuqua signing this spring for a Chinese-language romantic epic and Neil Gaiman and James Cameron being courted to to adapt the folk tale “Journey to the West” for the big screen.
As for where this will land on Zwick’s slate remains to be seen, as he also signed to direct the potential franchise starter “American Assassin” for CBS Films back in June. But certainly, ‘Wall’ seems more firmly in Zwick’s wheelhouse than that action thriller, a historical pic with a grand sweep, and we’ll be curious to see how it develops.