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Legendary Confirms Budget Hike and Language for Zhang Yimou’s ‘Great Wall’

“The Great Wall,” the first movie to emerge from Legendary Entertainment’s Legendary East stable, will be top Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s first English-language film.

The language of the dialog and the budget – now pegged at $135 million – were confirmed Wednesday by Legendary East CEO Peter Loehr at the U.S.-China Film Summit in Downtown Los Angeles.

“Legendary East is trying to do the same kind of thing as in the U.S., that is to make large, very visual pictures. They will be no different technically to what we do elsewhere,” Loehr said.

“They will be made for a world audience,” he said, but also acknowledged how hard it is to make a movie that works everywhere.

The film is a period action spectacular with sci-fi elements and a massive plot twist.

Casting is now under way ahead of a shoot set to begin in Feb 2015 and delivery in 2016.

Zhang has previously worked on scales that range from intimate art-house titles through to big-budget spectacles. He directed “The Flowers of War,” which remains one on China’s most expensive pictures to date, and also conceived the extraordinary opening and closing ceremonies if the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Zhang has been eyeing a Hollywood move for some while and last year spent time doing pre-visualization work on a possible “Hunchback of Notre Dame” tale.

“The Great Wall” will start production with worldwide distribution already in place, through Universal Pictures worldwide and through China Film Group in China. LeVision Pictures, the film production company where Zhang is artistic director, is a co-investor.

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