The film is a 3D teen fantasy directed by the U.K.’s Norman Stone (“Shadowlands.) The story follows a group of schoolkids, who are magically transported by a rainbow to China, where they find themselves pursued by a mysterious organization as well as the cause of a major natural disaster.
Kao plays a scientist studying the energy field effects of rainbows. He joins Karl Urban (“Star Trek,” “Lord Of The Rings”) and Willow Shields (“The Hunger Games”) in the China-New Zealand – UK coproduction.
International sales for the film are handled by London-based sales outfit Embankment Films. “The Wonder” also marks Tien Ran Media Group’s, a subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba, first foray into English-language production. Stellar Mega Films will release the film theatrically in China next year.
Kao started out in the U.S. but is now married to Chinese superstar Zhou Xun and has built an acting career on both sides of the Pacific. He starred in “The Death Day Party” and the recent “Ulterior Motives,” directed by Hong Kong’s Arthur Wong. He has also returned to U.S. TV and has a regular recurring role on NBC’s “Chicago PD.”
Additional “Wonder” cast includes Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Chinese teen star Wu Lei, Christy Chung (“Bruce Lee, My Brother) and leading Chinese actress Joe Chen Chiau-Ern (“The Monkey King”.)
The film was previously set up at Hyde Park International with Peter Hewitt (“Sliding Doors”) in the director’s chair and reported to have a budget of $20 million.