BUSAN: Zhang Yimou Ready to Climb Legendary’s ‘Wall’

BUSAN — Top Chinese director Zhang Yimou is looking forward to scaling up and directing “The Great Wall,” a $100 million-plus blockbuster for Legendary East, the Chinese offshoot of heavyweight Hollywood producer Legendary Entertainment.

Zhang Yimou is in Busan with producer Zhang Zhao and first-time actress Zhang Huiwen, for the gala presentation of “Coming Home.” The film is a period drama about the lingering impact of the Mao-era Cultural Revolution on the lives of a fractured family.

“Next up is a big co-produced blockbuster, very different, very commercial, a swordplay fantasy,” said Zhang Yimou. “But whatever I make, whether it is history or fantasy, I pay attention to the character of and uniqueness of Chinese culture.”

“ ‘The Great Wall’ is exactly the kind of film China needs to be trying to make more of,” said Zhang Zhao, CEO of LeVision Pictures and a producer on both movies. “It combines the traditional quality values of Chinese cinema, while also seeking to connect and make use of the most advanced filmmaking techniques available today. It is going to be a Chinese film that really tries to face up to world audiences.”

The film is set for a production start early in 2015 and, though he showered her with praise, Zhang Yimou would not say whether he will cast Zhang Huiwen in the next picture.

Speaking about “Coming Home,” Zhang made no apologies for making a movie about events that still scar many in China. “The Cultural Revolution is very peculiar and special to me. I found that it brings out the sentiments that are universal to all human beings.”

He also said that “Coming Home,” in which actor Chen Daoming’s father character is betrayed by his daughter (Zhang Huiwen), is a film about waiting and hope. “Whether the waiting is fulfilled or not is not the point. It is about the wait and the hope that people retain even in desperate circumstances.”

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