Renowned set designer Ning Caishen linked a cast list of the movie. [Photo: xinhua]
US production house Paramount Pictures is to dramatize the Chinese best-selling novel "The Graver Robbers' Chronicles". This is according to renowned set designer Ning Caishen, who revealed the news on his micro-blog on Dec 28. He also linked a cast list, which shows John Cusack taking the leading role, with Ryan Rodney Reynolds from "Green Lantern" co-starring. Morgan Freeman and Li Bingbing will also be involved.
"The Graver Robbers' Chronicles" author Xu Lei (Nan Shu San Pai) later confirmed the information. Li Bingbing also confirmed she's been asked to play a role. But the two were tightlipped about further details for legal reasons.
The novel's character "Wu Xie" has some flaws. He is easily influenced by other fellows. But although he lacks talent, he makes up for it with a quick mind and a basic knowledge of building. "Wu Xie" is an amateur grave robber who grows in awareness and courage. It's believed Paramount chose John Cusack who starred in "2012" as the leading actor "Wu Xie". The difference between the movie and the original novel is the main actor is now an American stealing Chinese grave treasures with another American, the "third uncle". John Cusack once cooperated with Gong Li and Chow Yun fat in the Chinese movie "Shanghai". However many fans of the novel think 44 year-old Cusack is too old to play "Wu Xie", who is in his 20s in the book. Some have also suggested a foreign actor would lack the knowledge of China's culture and society.
In the novel, the personality of character Zhang Qiling is so calm he's nicknamed "stuffy oil bottle". He is a master grave robber, played by Ryan Rodney Reynolds. But the film will see his calmness replaced by good looks.
Wu Sansheng, Wu Xie's uncle, is also called the "third uncle" in the novel. He is very mysterious and keeps many secrets. Morgan Freeman will play this role in the film – and he's a hit with Chinese fans, one of which described his acting as 'perfect'.
"A Ning" is clever, beautiful and brave. A Ning and Wu Xie have a complicated love-hate relationship. The two are romantically involved in the film. Because three actors are American, some speculate Li Bingbing will play "A Ning".
After five years of writing, the final episode was recently published. "The Graver Robbers' Chronicles" relies on suspense, a thrilling story structure, good plot and believable characters. The book's been captivating readers since the first edition was published in 2007. It's been reported that 2.1 million copies of the final installment have been printed. When it appeared on Dec 28, it was quickly listed as a best seller by internet bookseller Amazon.
The suspense of "The Graver Robbers' Chronicles" has also attracted film directors. One journalist speculated that author Xu Lei sold the movie rights to Paramount 3 years ago. Now it's about to hit the big screen.