Cusack will play Lucius, a Roman general who leads a legion of soldiers into China. Brody plays power-hungry Tiberius, who has killed Roman Consul Crassus and chases after Lucius with 100,000 troops.
The previously announced Jackie Chan stars as commander of the protectorate of the western regions, who teams up with Lucius to protect China’s borders and sovereignty.
Producers confirmed the production budget as $65 million, making it one the three most costly Chinese films of all time.
The film is backed by Sparkle Roll Cultural Media, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, Shanghai Film Group and new film investment group Beijing Cultural Assets Chinese Film & Television Fund. World sales are handled by Hong Kong-based Golden Network.
Under the direction of Daniel Lee, the film has already been in production at the Hengdian World Studios. That has now wrapped and the shoot will now relocate to parts of the Gobi Desert.
The film has been substantially pre-sold within Asia. Distributors on board include Long Shong (for Taiwan), Joy N Contents (South Korea), Encore (Singapore), Mono Film (Thailand), Prima Cinema (Indonesia), GSC Movies (Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.)
On completion of “Dragon Blade,” Chan will next shoot English-language actioner “Skiptrace” before taking the lead role in “Chinese Zodiac II,” a sequel to the Chan-directed and starring comedy action hit of December 2012.