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Alexander Skarsgard Or Benjamin Walker Will Join Henry Cavill In 'The Great Wall'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
June 4, 2012 1:47 PM
11 Comments
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The Great Wall Alexander Skarsgard Benjamin Walker

Update 06/08/12: Deadline reports that Benjamin Walker has won the co-starring role in "The Great Wall."

Originally published 06/04.12: So which unproven movie actor will join another untested thesp in a period movie about the the Great Wall Of China? That's right, this has all the ingredients of a SMASH HIT.

With "Man Of Steel" actor Henry Cavill already on board, and with producers presumably believing his career won't go Christopher Reeve or Brandon Routh after the Superman pic comes out next year, director Ed Zwick is now between "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgard and POTUS/vampire killer Benjamin Walker for the co-starring role in "The Great Wall." We guess these guys are cheap which is why Legendary Pictures is rolling with this, but it seems no one has learned anything from the whole Taylor Kitsch debacle of 2012. Skarsgard is great on the HBO show, but his two big movies in the last while -- "Battleship" and "Straw Dogs"-- either undperformed or simply tanked. Meanwhile, does anyone give a shit about "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"? Box office disappointment reeks off of that one.

Anyway, Zwick co-wrote the script with his partner, Marshall Herskovitz which is based off a story, dreamed up by Legendary honcho Thomas Tull and "World War Z" author Max Brooks, that centers on two 15th century British warriors who stumble across the wall mid-construction, but soon realize that it's not just being built to keep out the Mongols, but something else entirely. We presume something supernatural. Whatever.

No word yet on when this might lens but it's being produced via Legendary East. [Deadline]

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11 Comments

  • Amelia | June 5, 2012 5:38 AMReply

    And forgot to add - this is not the actors' fault, as the concept of "movie star" is based on the likes of that long-aged image of '80s Coctail-Tom Cruise. There is a gap between so-called "movie stars" and up-and-comings, whereby Skarsgaard, Harington, Kinnaman all fit in the latter and are actually the ones that moviegoers would buy the tickets for - after all we see them on TV and "connect" more than e.g. Tom Cruise. On the other side are the "established" Cruise, Depp, Pitt... most of them have had their fair share of wrong film choices but it all went down unnoticed due to how "established" they were.
    IMO the gap has to be filled and unknowns to moviegoers to be cast, after all for all the money the studios like Warner would earn it's worth the risk, but it has to be balanced. None wants to see too much of the so-called "movie stars" like Cruise, they are boring. IMO Kinnaman and Harington did wise not waiting around and take whatever they could (with limits of course, don't do crap films that wouldn't help) and Harington will play a villain alongside Jeff Bridges which is just plain cool.
    Studios are just way too naive. They cast Kristen Stewart as Snow White an poor girl can only pout and be all emoish, basically play herself in every film. But she's "in" thanks to the Twillight-hype. Snow White and The Huntsman won't flop and Stewart has nothing to do with that, she's mediocre at her best but Charlize Theron saved that movie. Robert Pattinson tanked in Remember Me a couple years ago, his first lead role after Twillight. That's why 'established' filmstars are needed. On the other hand, Skarsgaard, Harington or Kinnaman are in no way in the league of Stewart and Pattinson. Harington won the lead role of War Horse for the National and the West End when he was in drama school and Jon Snow as his first-ever work before the camera - that doesn't happen without talent yet studios don't recognise such things. Just IMO.

  • Amelia | June 5, 2012 5:24 AMReply

    Legendary just doesn't learn.
    They tried to pull off the exact same manoeuvres when they cast Joel Kinnaman from The Killing as Lancelot and Kit Harington from Game of Thrones as Arthur for 'Arthur & Lancelot' last November, and it ended up completely falling apart as both actors were unproven thus Warner simply told director David Dobkin to take it elsewhere or say goodbye to those epic battles he dreamed of as he has to cut 40million off the budget in December. Kinnaman fell out immediately and went on to sign on for Robocop which will probably boost his career much more than this project would have, and Harington is still attached though went on to take a supporting role in The Seventh Son, another Warner project to fill the time left when A&L filming didn't start on time. If A&L ever starts to shoot he'll most likely skip it as he's contracted half the year to GOT which starts shooting in July.
    Dobkin later tried to get Colin Farrell with not much luck, and Legendary offered the role of Merlin to Gary Oldman and the role of Morgana to Marion Cotillard, purposedly to boost up the star-power but they both declined. Guess the salary wasn't worth. All in all, Legendary killed the project by trying to cut budget on casting unknowns in the leads.

  • Fred | June 5, 2012 1:07 AMReply

    So who exactly should be being sought for these works in the pipeline, since there are so many hit-every-time movie stars around in modern day....Tom "Larry Crowne" Hanks, Will "Seven Pounds" Smith, Tom "Knight and Day" Cruise, Johnny "The Rum Diary" Depp? It's kind of funny to see such a hip and of-the-minute bunch waiting all Nikki Finke-like (along with their commenters) to designate "fill-in-the-blank is not a movie star" after their latest opening. Isn't the notion of the movie star as far as who "opens a movie" kind of archaic in concept-driven modern day? Isn't that something that old dudes used to talk about, back in the 1980s and 90s? Sure, you guys are willing to throw an occasional bone to someone on a half-full kind of day like Bradley Cooper (bankable after Limitless!) and Daniel Radcliffe (post-Potter Woman in Black grosses don't embarrass!) but trade Kitsch or Skarsgard for either one of those and isn't it likely that the concepts might have approached the same end result? Would Harry or Mr. Hangover have risen "Battleship" above its destiny? Would any actor in the world have saved "John Carter" from its fate? It's the luck of the draw in conceptland: one gets to be the rimshot punchline for awhile and the other is bankable for a moment until their next underperformer when the claws are waiting to spring again.

  • Christopher | June 5, 2012 12:00 AMReply

    I guess you missed the part where Alex Skarsgard wasn't the lead of Straw Dogs or Battleship, but somehow managed to get the few, or in some cases only, positive reviews to be had in either film, huh?

  • jingmei | June 4, 2012 10:34 PMReply

    This is a just cool article.

  • ak | June 4, 2012 4:16 PMReply

    I agree. ALVH sounds ridiculous, and by the looks of the trailer, they take the premise entirely seriously. I thought it was going to be more tongue-in-cheek for some reason...

  • Wormie | June 4, 2012 4:06 PMReply

    Glad I'm not the only one who thinks the author of this article is a pretentious ass hole. Just because YOU don't have any interest in AL:VH doesn't mean the rest of the world doesn't. Get off your high horse dipshit. Just deliver the news in a proper, unbiased manner like you’re supposed to and stop trying to inject your own, worthless opinion.

  • maxine | June 4, 2012 3:28 PMReply

    Wow it's so hip to be totally blase and sarcastic in writing news about movies. What happened to the etiquette of journalism where writers just write the what ,when,where and when of a news article without giving one's bias and scathing commentary?

  • d | June 4, 2012 4:10 PM

    this is a BLOG. go read Variety if you want straight journalism.

  • maxine | June 4, 2012 3:27 PMReply

    Wow it's so hip to be totally blasé and sarcastic in writing news about movies. What happened to the etiquette of journalism where writers just write the what ,when,where and when of a news article without giving one's bias and scathing commentary?

  • jay | June 4, 2012 1:58 PMReply

    Yeah, because obviously the only movies that make money these days are ones that have MOVIE STARS in them. Or....not. wtf is up with you Playlist guys?

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