It’s been revealed that Edward Zwick will be working with Legendary East on their first film, The Great Wall. East is a new company from Legendary Pictures’ Thomas Tull, created with the intention to “produce content that is as commercially viable within China and the rest of the world.”
Directed by Zwick and co-written with Marshall Herskovitz, the story is based on one created by Tull and Max Brooks, author of World War Z. The description claims that the movie “reveals the legend behind a great mystery of our age: why this magnificent structure came to be.” As someone who paid attention in history class, the answer to the “mystery” that I believe is being referred to is one that’s pretty simple — and not terribly cinematic — but maybe they know something that we don’t.
Jon Jashni, the Chief Creative Officer of Legendary and Legendary East advisor, said that The Great Wall “exemplifies the type of globally-appealing, commercial movie” that they want to be known for. There is the issue of how balanced a depiction this will be of China, as the circumstances under which the company came about — coupled with this film’s material — raises a few questions.
Still, I’ve liked most of the films that Zwick has made, due in large part to a skill in handling historic material with a certain sense of epicness. Nothing that he’s done goes as far back as this will, so I’m wondering if he’ll change any of his methods for an entirely new period. Either way, if he can recreate an older culture in the same way he did with The Last Samurai — with a little action thrown in, if possible — then I would be on board for his telling of the Great Wall’s story.
Is Zwick a director that you consider yourself to be a fan of? Does this sound like the right material for him?
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