Osborne sets schedule for fantasy film

“Lord of the Rings” producer Barrie Osborne will return to New Zealand next month to produce fantasy actioner “Laundry Warrior.”

The English-language heroic tale begins lensing Nov. 12 in Auckland with a cast headed by Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth and Korean star Jang Dong-gun .

Helmed and written by Sngmoo Lee, pic has a $45 million budget through Sad Flutes, a company set up by Osborne, Michael Peyser (“Speed 2,” “Imagining Argentina”) and Lee Joo-ick (“Seven Swords”).

Story sees a fugitive Asian warrior (Jang) hide out in the American badlands, where he encounters the town drunk (Rush) and a beautiful, but troubled woman.

Lee, who has taught for five years at the New York Film School, will make his helming debut.

Production will employ extensive green screen techniques, and post-production will involve the use of effects houses including Weta Digital in New Zealand and others in Korea, India and the U.S.

“We draw on two great milieux, the Samurai movie and the Western,” Peyser said. “We will deliver a stylized, partly anime feel, with the techniques of ‘300,’ but a look that is brighter.”

Pic’s coin has come from private investors on both sides of the Pacific. Starting from today’s American Film Market, Kathy Morgan Intl. will rep the rights in most international territories. North America is being handled personally by Osborne and Peyser.

KMI and Lee Joo-ick will jointly handle Japan and Jang’s home territory, South Korea, where pic has already attracted strong interest from the local majors.

Jang is the star of many of Korea’s biggest grossing movies including “Typhoon,” “Taegukgi” and “Friend.”

Cast also includes Tony Cox (“Bad Santa”).

“Barrie and I are looking to make non-Amerocentric, world-scale movies,” Peyser said. “With 15 set-piece action sequences and use of every kind of weapon from swords and machine guns to dynamite, plus 50 carnival tricks, ‘Laundry Warrior’ lends itself perfectly to the downloading and gaming environments.”

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