Edward Zwick to Direct Legendary East's First Project

Marshall Herskovitz will write the screenplay for “The Great Wall,” which the company hopes to release in China and the rest of the world

Edward Zwick has signed on to direct Legendary East's first project, "The Great Wall," the company said Tuesday.

Marshall Herskovitz — Zwick's producing and writing partner — will write the screenplay with Zwick (below).

The movie is based on a story by Legendary Entertainment's chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull, and "World War Z" writer Max Brooks.

According to Legendary East, "'The Great Wall' reveals the legend behind a great mystery of our age: why this magnificent structure came to be."

In a written statement, Legendary Entertainment's chief creative officer, Jon Jashni, said, "Our partnership with Ed and Marshall is indicative of the creative ambition and financial commitment we are bringing to Legendary East — not next year or next month, but today."

Also read: Legendary Forges Partnership With Hong Kong Financier

He said that the movie "exemplifies the type of globally appealing, commercial movie we intend to have Legendary East become known for."

Jashni, Tull, Zwick, Herskovitz and Charles Roven ("The Dark Knight Rises," "Man of Steel") and Alex Gartner of Atlas Entertainment will produce.

Legendary East's co-prodution partner, Huayi Brothers, will distribute the movie in China. Warner Bros., where Legendary has a deal, is expected to distribute in other parts of the world.

Also read: Hollywood's China Revolution: Smaller Is Better

Zwick is known for big, sweeping movies. He and Herskowitz wrote and produced "The Last Samurai," and Zwick directed "Love and Other Drugs," "Blood Diamond" and "Defiance." He and Herskowitz were nominated for an Academy Award for producing "Traffic."

Legndary Entertainment launched Legendary East this past June to make movies for a worldwide audience. The company is based in Hong Kong and has Chinese management. Its goal is to develop and produce English language films that "tap into the powerful fandom demographic and draw on Legendary's Chinese ties."

The idea is to make movies that have a worldwide audience and that are commercial viable in China.

This past Sunday, Legendary announced that it was getting $220 million in funding from Hong Kong's Paul Y Engineering Group.

Legendary East is one of a trio of companies that have recently launched initiatives to market movies to China.

On Aug. 14, Relativity Media announced a deal with Chinese companies to co-produce films with Chinese material. Earlier this month, the Chinese media conglomerate DMG announced a $300 million film fund to cofinance American tentpoles that will be released in China.