As a director Edward Zwick is mostly famous for making big, emotional, slightly shallow historical epics, like Glory and The Last Samurai and Blood Diamond. Last fall he tried to change up that successful formula with Love and Other Drugs, a romance that flopped terribly despite featuring very naked Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway in the lead roles. Knowing how to quit while he's ahead, Zwick will be returning to the well of history for his next movie, and those of you who rankled at the cultural insensitivity of The Last Samurai, watch out-- this time he's going to China.
Deadline reports that Zwick is set to make The Great Well for Legendary East, the first film from the Hong Kong-based company founded by Legendary's Thomas Tull. The American version of Legendary is behind the likes of The Hangover and The Dark Knight, and it seems they're looking to make hits of that size that will particularly appeal to the massive, ever-growing audiences in China. To wit, The Great Wall, which will tell "a story about the mystery behind China's greatest manmade structure," as "imagined" by Tull and Max Brooks, the author of the zombie apocalypse novel World War Z that's currently filming as an action movie starring Brad Pitt.
For those of you keeping track at home, yes, we've got a case of a bunch of white men heading over to another country to try and tell a story about one of that country's most significant landmarks. And if you saw The Last Samurai, which depicts one of the most important participants in that ancient Japanese culture as a white man played by Tom Cruise, you might be wondering if the mystery behind China's greatest manmade structure somehow involves the white man who made it all possible. I'd rather be optimistic-- after all, if they're trying to appeal to a Chinese audience, you'd assume they'll be very respectful of Chinese culture. But if The Great Wall turns out to be as dutiful and dull as it seems, or as Defiance and Blood Diamond, no amount of cultural misappropriation will make this one a must-see.
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Staff Writer at CinemaBlend