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Chinese Star Li Bingbing Lands In Australian Sci-Fi Pic ‘Nest’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Li Bingbing, the top Chinese actress who is carving out a Hollywood career, is to star in “Nest,” an English-language sci-fi actioner being directed by Kimble Rendall.

Li will also be a producer on the Chinese-Australian co-production, which is being represented by Darclight, the genre films offshoot of Sydney- and Los Angeles-based Arclight Films. Pre-production ahead of a shoot in 3D is under way in Australia’s Gold Coast and Darclight is pitching the film to distributors at the Toronto Film Festival.

The story involves a team of scientists who, while making the discovery of the century, lose a colleague in an ancient labyrinth. The group must battle their way through a swarm of deadly, man-eating funnel web spiders and discover the secret behind the insects’ power and unusual intelligence.

Nest” is understood to be the largest Chinese-Australian co-production to date, and has scored finance from federal funding body Screen Australia and from state film support agency Screen Queensland.

Production is by Nest Holdings in partnership with Loongs United Investment, a Beijing-based film and TV investor which was responsible for the Chinese distribution of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” and Jason Statham vehicle “Redemption.” Producers include Gary Hamilton, Ying Ye and Mark Lazarus, Serena Deng and Li Bingbing. Executive producers include Mike Gabrawy and Elliot Tong.

Rendall, a noted action director (“Matrix: Reloaded,” “Matrix: Revolutions”), made his directorial debut three years ago with “Bait 3D,” which was similarly a Chinese-Australian joint venture, handled by Arclight and grossed $25 million at the Chinese box office.

Visual effects on “Nest” will be supplied by Australia’s Rising Sun Pictures (“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and “The Great Gatsby”).

Li has Hollywood credits including “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Resident Evil: Retribution.” The Chinese films she has starred in, including “Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame” and “Zhongkui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal,” have been some of the highest-grossing films made in the emerging cinema superpower. She is represented by Darren Boghosian at UTA, Fundamental Management and attorney Karl Austen.

“With a mesmerizing story, the brilliance of director Kimble Rendall, the breath-taking talent of Li Bingbing and an A-list special effects team, ‘Nest’ is perfectly positioned to be a major commercial success with thrill-seeking audiences all over the world,” said Ye, producer, and managing director of Easternlight.

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