Filming is expected to begin this month in China in the Sichuan region in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Exchange is launching sales at the American Film Market.
“The Lady and the Panda” is a U.K./Chinese co-production, produced by Laura Bickford and Michelle Qi, CEO of Europe China Picture Group. The executive producers are John Lambert of Europe China Picture Group, Joe Simpson and D. Todd Shepherd of Miscellaneous Entertainment, Christopher Brough from Pandamotion Picture Company, Andrew Mann, and Fiona Druckenmiller.
Ferguson is portraying Ruth Harkness, the first person to bring a live panda from China to the United States. She was a New York socialite whose wealthy, explorer husband died unexpectedly in 1936. She took over his expedition to China, joined forces with a Chinese guide, and traveled into the uncharted Himalayas, where they rescued an orphaned baby panda.
Liu will play Harkness’ love interest. Harkness took the bear, Su Lin, back to the U.S. and created a nationwide sensation.
Variety first reported that Justin Chadwick was set to direct from a script he wrote with Bickford and Holly Gent Palmo, based on Harkness’ original correspondence.
Liu’s first movie was 1999’s “Postman in the Mountains.” His other credits include “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress,” “Purple Butterfly,” “The Floating Landscape,” and “Dark Matter,” in which he starred as a Chinese physics postgraduate opposite Meryl Streep. “Dark Matter” won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.