Willem Dafoe Joins Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal in Zhang Yimou’s ‘Great Wall’

Legendary Pictures project set in ancient China will mark the visionary Chinese director’s English-language debut

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Zhang Yimou’s ancient-China action-flick “Great Wall” has added Willem Dafoe to its cast, which includes Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Chinese director Zhang is set to make his English-language debut with the film, which follows an elite force making a last stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure.

The film is expected to be the largest production ever shot entirely in China.

Production is set to begin in the spring 2015, as Universal Pictures will release the film in 3D in the U.S. on Nov. 23, 2016. A theatrical release in China is being planned for early Dec. 2016.

Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker had been set to star in a previous incarnation of the project when Ed Zwick was attached to direct. Bryan Cranston was also in talks to join the Zhang project at one point, but he fell out of negotiations.

Tony Gilroy wrote the most recent draft of “The Great Wall,” which is a supernatural take that will be produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, as well as Charles Roven and Richard Suckle of Atlas Entertainment.

Last seen in “John Wick” and “A Most Wanted Man,” Dafoe next returns to voice Gill in “Finding Nemo” sequel “Finding Dory,” out in 2016. He is represented by CAA and Circle of Confusion.