Entertainment Television

Netflix, Weinstein Co. begin production of 'Marco Polo'

Netflix is going around the world for its next original series. The streaming service and the Weinstein Company announced Tuesday that production has begun on "Marco Polo."

Based on the life of the 13th century adventurer Marco Polo, the 10-episode series will film on location in Italy, Kazakhstan and the new Pinewood Studios in Malaysia. Netflix plans to premiere the series later this year.

And if you believe Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, it's going to be epic.

"Television audiences today are more discerning than ever before both in terms of character and the scope of the worlds those characters live in. We are proud to present a series that rivals some of the most successful films we've ever made," Weinstein says in a press release. "Marco Polo is a figure all have heard of, but few truly know, and we are excited to introduce him to the world. And we are shooting all over the world ... This is spectacle in the truest sense of the word."

Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy will play Polo, leading an international cast that includes Benedict Wong, Zhu Zhu, Tom Wu, Remy Hii and Rick Yune.

"The famed explorer's journey takes him to the center of a brutal war in 13th century China, a world replete with exotic martial arts, political skullduggery, spectacular battles and sexual intrigue," a press release states.

Creator John Fusco ("Forbidden Kingdom," "Young Guns," ""Hidalgo") and Harvey Weinstein will serve as executive producers. Dan Minahan ("Game of Thrones, "True Blood") will serve as executive producer and will direct two episodes. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg ("Kon Tiki," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales") will direct the season's first two episodes. Patrick MacManus will serve as co-executive producer. Collin Creighton will produce on behalf of The Weinstein Company.

More about cast members:

Lorenzo Richelmy
Born in Liguria in 1990, Lorenzo Richelmy moved to Rome in 1994 where his acting debut was in a theatrical performance at the age of 8. In 2002, his career launched with the film "il pranzo della domenica" and in 2007 his TV performances included "I liceali" directed by Lucio Pellegrini. In 2008 he was awarded Best Upcoming Personality by the Italian Tourist Department. Lorenzo attended CSC, the top drama school in Italy, as the youngest student ever admitted. In 2010 he starred in the film "Fat Cat," where he was nominated for Best Actor at the International Film Festival in Bruxelles, as well as three other festivals in California. In 2012 Lorenzo was cast as the lead in "Terra e vento" directed by Sebastian Maulucci as well as starring in "Terzo tempo," produced by Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (CSC ) where it went on to the Venice Film Festival. Lorenzo also received an award dedicated to a young talent by the Maremetraggio Film Festival. In 2014 Lorenzo starred in Carlo Verdone's successful comedy "Sotto una buona stella" along with Paola Cortellesi, Carlo Verdone and Tea Falco.

Benedict Wong
Benedict Wong's acting career is comprised of performances in film, television and theater. Benedict has appeared in films including "Hummingbird," "Kick Ass 2," "Prometheus," "Johnny English Reborn," "The Lady," "Moon," "Shanghai," "Largo Winch," "Grown Your Own," "Sunshine," "A Cock And Bull Story," "On A Clear Day," "Tristram Shandy," "Code 46," "Dirty Pretty Things," "Spygame," "Wit," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. His TV appearances include "Hong Kong Cracker," "Arabian Nights," "TLC," "15 Storeys High," "State of Play," "The Eleventh Hour," "Frankenstein," "The IT Crowd," "Spooks," "Spiritwarriors," "Law and Order," "Top Boy Series 1&2," "Covert Affairs," "Run," "The Wrong Mans" and "Prey." He also has performed in many theatrical plays.

Zhu Zhu
This Beijing native (whose name is pronounced "juju") first caught the public's eye as a host of MTV in China. She made her big screen debut in the Chinese remake of "What Women Want." She made her first appearances in English language movies with "Cloud Atlas" and in the RZA-helmed "The Man with the Iron Fists." She has recently appeared in the bilingual film "Shanghai Calling," and followed that up with a leading role in the contemporary love story "Secret Sharer."

Tom Wu
As a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Tom Wu has been featured on the big screen in such films as "Kick Ass 2," "RED 2," "Skyfall," "RA1," "Scorpion King," "The Tournament," "Mutant Chronicles," "Revolver," "Batman Begins," "The Wake of Death," "Life & Death of Peter Sellers," "Belly of the Beast," "Out for a Kill," "Tomb Raider II," "Shanghai Knights," "Rouge Trader," "Sally Kerosene," "Red" and "Empire of the Sun." Tom also has been in TV shows including "Treasure Island," "Da Vinci's Demons," "New Tricks," "Bo and the Spirit World," "Omid," "Whistle Blower," "The Ruby in the Smoke," "Casualty," "Emmerdale," "Secrets of the First Emperor," "The Commander," "Silent Witness," ‘Footballer's Wives," "Guardian," "The Bill," "Search," "Thieftakers," "Dr Terrible's House of Horribles," "Hong Kong Cracker" and also has a history in theater.

Remy Hii
In 2013, Remy Hii starred as Van Nguyen in the gripping SBS drama "Better Man," receiving an AACTA Award nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama. He has also appeared in SBS' critically acclaimed series "East of Everything," Jonathan M Shiff's "H20: Just Add Water" and "Neighbours." He also has starred in Alex Murawski's short film, "Kiss," alongside Sophie Lowe and Melissa Anastasi's "Treading Water." Remy graduated from Australia's prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art in 2011.

Rick Yune
Rick Yune has appeared in various films including "Olympus Has Fallen," "The Fast and the Furious," "The Man with the Iron Fists," "Remigration," "Ninja Assassin," "Beyond Remedy," "The Fifth Commandment," "Die Another Day," "The Fast and the Furious" and "Snow Falling on Cedars." Rick also has appeared in the following television shows, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Boston Legal," "Alias," "The Division" and "Any Day Now."

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Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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