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‘Three-Body Problem’ Movie In the Works With Zhang Yimou to Direct

‘Three-Body Problem’ Movie In the Works With Zhang Yimou to Direct

Liu Cixin‘s bestselling sci-fi book The Three-Body Problem is set for another screen adaptation, with the legendary Zhang Yimou set to direct a Chinese-language film based on the novel.

News of the feature adaptation, and Zhang’s involvement, was revealed Sunday during a forum at the Shanghai International Film Festival, the news agency Xinhua reported. At SIFF, Wang Changtian, chairman of Beijing Enlight Media, said his company was in the early stages of developing the project. Three-Body Universe Cultural Development Co., Ltd, the copyright holder for the book and related media, also confirmed the project was in the works.

Zhang is widely considered China’s greatest living filmmaker. A key figure in China’s Fifth Generation of filmmakers, he is best known for his films ‎Raise the Red Lantern, ‎Red Sorghum, To Live, Hero and House of the Flying Daggers, and he also directed the memorable opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Despite his advancing year, he shows no signs of slowing down and has enjoyed his greatest commercial success in the last few years. In 2023, his period comedy Full River Red made $634 million at China’s box office, and he repeated the trick later in the year with Under the Light grossing $190 million. Zhang’s latest film, the comedy Article 20, made $320 million earlier this year.

The Three-Body Problem, the first book in Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, has spawned several adaptations across different media since its release in 2014, although with mixed success. A prior Chinese-language adaptation of the book directed by Fanfan Zhang was never completed, but a Chinese TV adaptation by Tencent, titled Three-Body, did make it to the screen in 2023, and streamed on Peacock earlier this year.

In the west, the best-known adaptation is Netflix’s big budget take, restyled as 3 Body Problem, that was helmed by Alexander Woo and Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The Netflix adaptation debuted in March to positive reviews and was renewed for a further two seasons.

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