Tarsem Singh's last two films, Immortals and Mirror Mirror, while visually stunning, lacked punch at the box office. That hasn't stopped the director from helming a major US/China joint venture focusing on the life of Marco Polo.
The film will follow the 13th century Venetian explorer on his adventures in China and is slated for a 2013 release.
The project got an added boost with the addition of Chinese actress Gong Li, who has become increasingly selective about her projects over the past decade. She'll play a Mongolian empress. American audiences will probably recognize Li from Memoirs of a Geisha, Michael Mann's Miami Vice or Peter Webber's Hannibal Rising.
The film will be shot in English, though Li said, "So far the collaboration between China and the U.S. has mainly involved Chinese actors going to work abroad, so it's a great thing to have a Chinese story shoot in China with both Chinese and foreign actors."
The actor playing Marco Polo has yet to be announced, though there's still plenty of time to decide as the film is not slated to begin filming until the end of the year.
We've seen Singh do some visually stunning things with film. Will this be the film that balances the gripping visual elements of Singh's films with a solid story?