China-U.S. co-production finds lead investor

Seven Stars Film Studios has come on board as the lead investor in the China-U.S. co-production of “The Last Empress,” with Jake Eberts producing the English-language historical drama.

The studio, a subsidiary of Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Entertainment Group, will go into production on the pic in the fourth quarter. Shen Yuhe (“Towards Republic”) is writing with producer Jeremy Thomas (“The Last Emperor”) as a consultant.

“The Last Empress” has been developed with Eberts’ Allied Prods. East label, a joint venture with Seven Stars. It centers on the Empress Dowager Cixi, who consolidated control over the Qing Dynasty and ruled ruthlessly from 1861 to her death in 1908.

Eberts producing credits include “Chariots of Fire,” “Gandhi,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Dances With Wolves.”

“This is a perfect project to come from Seven Stars Film Studios,” Wu said in a statement. “It tells a distinctly Asian story, and by working with creative talent such as Jake, Jeremy and Shen Yuhe, we are confident the movie will excite and resonate with audiences across the world.”

The Allied Prods. East joint venture was announced in March, a week after Seven Stars had announced it had partnered with director Justin Lin on Perfect Storm Entertainment to create a slate of films. Allied Prods. East announced at that point that it had launched development on “Mission Boys” with Erin Cressida Wilson (‘Secretary”) writing the story of 20 Chinese high school graduates arriving in the U.S. in the 1870s to attend Harvard and Yale.

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