Bill Mechanic, producer
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French-set fantasy to shoot in Melbourne with Chinese finance, star

HONG KONG — Bill Mechanic’s long-gestating fantasy film “The Moon And The Sun” is finally set to start shooting from April 2014 in Australia.

The $40 million picture will be directed by Sean McNamara and star Pierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy and China’s Fan Bingbing.

News of the project’s updated status came from the Australian state of Victoria, where government minister Louise Asher announced that the film had committed to shoot there.

“In addition to an estimated $25 million in production expenditure, ‘The Moon and the Sun’ will employ up to 1,200 Victorians in cast and crew – reaping extensive benefits for the Victorian screen industry and broader economy,” she said in a statement. Asher did not reveal how much Victoria is injecting into the project, though it seems likely that after competing with other states it will have to make a direct financial commitment to the film.

The film’s other finance will come from U.S. and Chinese sources. Cosmos Filmed Entertainment will produce “The Moon and the Sun” in association with Lightstream Pictures, and the China-based Maodi Group. Mechanic, former CEO and chairman of Fox Studios and Producer of Coraline, James Pang (“Painted Skin 2”), Melbourne-born Paul Currie (“Rampart,” “One Perfect Day”), and Evergrande’s Timothy Mou are all producing on the project.

Production will be focused at the Docklands Studios in Melbourne. Preproduction will start from January and lensing from April. Two weeks of shooting in Versailles France will also take place.

Universal’s Focus Features will release the film in the U.S. and Good Universe will handle international sales. 

The film is a is a fantasy/adventure feature, based on the award-winning novel by Vonda McIntyre about French king Louis XIV, who kidnaps a mermaid in order to steal its life force. Mechanic has been handling the project since 2001, when it was set up at Disney with Nathalie Portman starring and the Henson Co producing. It was also called “Mermaid” and at one time was set with Greg Hoblit to direct.

“We have a beautiful French story, acclaimed English and Chinese actors, and the best Australian creative talent all combining to make a completely unique adult fairy tale,” Mechanic said in a prepared statement.

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