by: Clark Allen
The Tracking Board has exclusively discovered that there will be a casting shake-up for Zhang Yimou’s international monster epic, THE GREAT WALL. Back in late September, it was announced that Matt Damon was in negotiations to nab the lead role in the China-set medieval adventure, however those talks have now fallen through, as Chris Hemsworth has now been offered the starring role. The Thor star is in negotiations to take on the role of Will, a strong, capable solider who is a member of a group of mercinaries. As for the remaining cast, I’m hearing that Chinese actress Jing Tian is in discussions to land the lead female role and film director and occasional actor Andrew Lau is in the running for a hefty supporting role. Hemsworth has time and again proven himself an audience draw and a capable leading man, and his casting could be the force that propels the long-gestating project off the ground. The film, which follows a band of mercenaries locked in battle against large-scale monsters in ancient China, is expected to be the largest production ever completely shot in the China.
The role that Tian is up for is Mae-Lin, a leader in an elite group of warriors, while Lau will portray Wang Zhen, a scientist that develops new weaponry. Bryan Cranston was previously announced to be in negotiations for a supporting role, but those talks have fallen through. Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal was recently confirmed to be in talks as well.
The project has a had a troubled birth since its inception in 2011, seeing multiple casting and directorial changes since. Ed Zwick was previously attached to write and direct, while Henry Cavill, Benjamin Walker, and Ziyi Zhang were all previously attached to star. Tony Gilroy will write the newest draft of the screenplay, after Zwick, Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, and Marshall Herskovitz all turned in prior drafts. The film comes from Legendary Pictures, with production set to begin in Spring 2015. Universal Pictures has currently slated the film for a theatrical release in the U.S. on Nov. 23, 2016.
Hemsworth will next be seen in Michael Mann’s Blackhat, Ron Howard’s The Heart of The Sea, and will reprise his role as Thor in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Tian is best known for her multitude of roles in non-english language films and will next be seen in the drama Tears In Heaven. Lau recently directed the crime drama Revenge of the Green Dragons, starring Ray Liotta.