China’s about to make a move into Hollywood, and it’s going to spend some serious cash doing so. Originally titled Mermaid Island, the newly-dubbed Empires of the Deep will be a $100 million USD “English-language tale of mermaids, mermen and a hero who saves the world from an evil empire”. Monica Belluci will star as the lead mermaid; Sharon Stone was once attached as well but has since been dropped (something she said, apparently). Unconfirmed rumors have also tabbed Derek Zoolander as the lead merman. The film will rely heavily on CGI, and according to producer and chief financier Harrison Liang, it will be “something like ‘Star Wars’ under the sea”.
The story was originally written by Chinese national Jiang Hongyu, but the rest of the production team has been lifted straight out of Hollywood. Irvin Kershner, owing to his undeniably relevant experience on Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, will be on board as a producer, while the simply named Pitof will direct.
Due out in 2010, this Fontelysee Pictures project hopes to be a bigger hit with North American audiences than the 2007 South Korean sci-fi film D-War, which grossed only $11 million (20% of its total revenues) stateside.