Actor to star in Mandarin/English-language pic

Kevin Spacey will scale the Great Wall of Chinese film production.

The multihyphenate has signed on to star in director Dayyan Eng’s black comedy “Inseparable.” Spacey’s involvement makes him the highest-profile Hollywood actor to ever star in a Chinese production.

The film, which will be shot in Mandarin and English, centers on a young man (Daniel Wu) with problems at home and work who is befriended by a mysterious American expat (Spacey). Beibi Gong also stars as the investigative-reporter wife of Wu’s character.

Eng, a Beijing-based U.S. national, penned the script and is producing through his Colordance Pictures banner. Lensing will begin in southern China this month. Move reflects Spacey’s aim to be ahead of the curve and recognize the rapidly growing impact of the Chinese film market.

Fantawild Pictures is the majority financier on the project, which is being produced by David U. Lee of Xinhua Media Ent.

While other films have been co-financed in China starring U.S. actors including Ed Norton, Willem Dafoe and Donald Sutherland, this is the first time there has been a wholly financed local Chinese film production starring an actor of Spacey’s visibility.

Spacey and Dana Brunetti are exec producing via their Trigger Street Prods. banner. Fantawild’s Li Ming and QED Intl.’s Bill Block will also serve as exec producers alongside Steven Squillante.Spacey’s upcoming projects include “Casino Jack,” in which he plays disgraced Washington power broker Jack Abramoff, and the comedy “Father of Invention.” He is also the artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre in London.

Trigger Street’s slate includes a pair of Sony pics: the untitled Somali pirate project and David Fincher’s “The Social Network.”

Spacey and Trigger Street are repped by CAA and Joanne Horowitz Management.

“Inseparable” marks Eng’s second feature film. His first, “Waiting Alone,” was a cult hit in China.

(Clifford Coonan in Beijing contributed to this report.)

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