In ancient China, Princess Lian and her younger brother, Zhao, flee for their lives when their father, the Emperor, is murdered by his ambitious eldest son Shing. Pursued by Shing’s soldiers, the royal runaways hire battle weary Briton, Arken, who’s wandered east to escape memories of the Crusades, and an unlikely romance blooms between the refined Han princess and the rough English man of war.
To say the least, the last several hours or so have been nothing short of an epic “WTF” for the folks over at Arclight Films. In a surprising move for what would have been this evening’s premiere in China for Hollywood film stunt coordinator Nick Powell‘s directorial period action adventure debut, Outcast, Chinese distributor and co-production partner, Yunan Film Group pulled the plug according to news from Screendaily.
Ying Ye, head of Arclight’s Asian label, Easternlight Films, and the film’s executive producer, Mike Gabrawy, expressed their shock and disappointment. “We are completely baffled – as far as we understood, the film had been cleared by China’s censors for release,” said Ye. “The film was so well received by all buyers who acquired it and even created a bidding war among US buyers. We are very frustrated that we were not informed.” Gawbry, who attended Beijing for the premiere, told the press “We’re still trying to get to the bottom of this – we’re in damage control on all fronts because the rest of the Asian distributors were confident and planning to go day-and-date with China. We don’t how this will affect their strategy and piracy,”. What’s more is that the report states the film does not have a solid U.S. release date despite previous reports of its Feburuary 2015 slot.
The Chinese/Canada/France produced film stars an international cast that includes Nicholas Cage and Hayden Christensen in a story of two war-weary former crusaders who are forced to take up the sword once more to protect and help a young prince reclaim his rightful place at the Imperial throne from his evil brother who has targeted him for assassination. The Four trilogy actress Crystial Liu Yifei, Special ID co-star and star of the upcoming action horror, Zombie Fight Club, Andy On and actress “Summer” Jikejunyi round out the cast.
The film was also greenlit for a sequel months earlier, but nonetheless, today’s move overseas indicates an uncertain future for the film on many fronts. Stay tuned for more updates.