Bruno Wu, the founder and CEO of Sun Seven Stars Media Group, one of China’s largest privately-held entertainment companies, has teamed up with the writer of “The Magnificent Seven” to develop English-language action thriller “The Last Mission,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.
The film will be the first in a slate of English-language films produced by Peak Time Entertainment, a joint venture between Wu subsidiary Seven Stars Entertainment and veteran Hollywood producer Arthur Sarkissian, who created the “Rush Hour” franchise.
“Last Mission” follows four retired special forces officers who reunite for one final mission in Southeast Asia. It’s set to start filming in February, and will be a U.S.-China co-production. And according to Wu, it’s a high-octane thriller.
“This movie is a killer,” Wu told TheWrap.
Richard Wenk, who penned “The Magnificent Seven,” is handling the script along with co-writer Rodney Vaccaro. Wu said he’s been a longtime fan of Wenk’s work, and believes “Last Mission” ranks up there.
“This script is one of the best scripts he’s ever written,” Wu said.
Dustin Nguyen, a longtime actor (“21 Jump Street”) and the director of “Once Upon a Time in Vietnam,” will helm the movie. Nguyen also directed “Jackpot,” which was a Vietnamese submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film last year.
“He’s got some of the sensitivities you don’t see in a normal action movie,” Wu said. “He’s got aesthetics, and he’s got a lot of soul.”
For his part, Wu has little interest in developing a one-note action film, and he’s willing to invest time and money in creative talent.
“I want to see a hybrid between ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Braveheart,'” Wu said. “That’s my dream.”
Wu drew a contrast between his approach and that of some other Chinese entertainment moguls who have recently come to Hollywood — to lecture industry executives.
“We come with a humble attitude,” Wu said. “Money cannot buy creativity.”
Wu shared his belief that the future of entertainment is content going direct to viewers, bypassing traditional distribution middlemen — which would be a boon to certain creators. And to that end, he said developing original, global intellectual property, like “Last Mission,” will only help enhance Sun Seven Stars’ brand.
He also said the success of its existing businesses — the company owns more than 50 production companies — gives him the freedom and patience to work on a smaller number of select films.
“Time will tell whether you make a masterpiece or trash,” Wu said. “You get penalized — or rewarded — either way.”