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The Wonder, years on

An announcement out of Cannes about the status of NZ-China production The Wonder shows a lot of changes in the last 18 months. In fact, it seems not a lot beyond the title has remained constant.

This week’s announcement claims “Willow Shields and Karl Urban are in discussions to star”, in contrast with the November 2012 release out of AFM which noted

Confirmed casting so far includes Taiwanese actor Wang Lee-hom (Lust, Caution); Willow Shields (The Hunger Games); and Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek).

There also appear to have been quite a few changes behind the camera.

Previously, Ron Underwood (Mighty Joe Young, City Slickers) was to direct; production would be by Media Funds Management (Australia), Gene Young 3D Image Company (Taiwan and Hong Kong) and Shenzhen Miracle Culture Communication (China); and Pixomondo (Red Tails, Snow White and the Huntsman, Game of Thrones) was on board to do the VFX work.

Now, Peter Hewitt (Garfield, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey) will direct. Beijing-based Show and Share Entertainment is the only producing company named in this week’s release. Feng Li (writer, House of the Flying Daggers, Hero) has been announced as script consultant. Libertine’s Richard Fletcher is among the new named producers.

Not everything has changed. A number of the original producers remain, including the UK’s Iain Brown and writer Robert Sidaway. Hyde Park International remains on board, handling sales.

The Chinese shooting location has also changed, moving some1800km west from Ningbo (just south of Shanghai) to the very picturesque Lijiang, close to the border with Myanmar.

Producer Allan Xia, also a new arrival since the 2012 announcements, will present on NZ-China co-productions at the Screen Edge Forum on 29 May in Auckland.