[adrotate banner=”1″]Gong Li is set to star in The Last Empress, based on the life of Empress Dowager Cixi, the controversial figure who took over control of the Qing Dynasty and ruled from 1861 until 1908. Her life has been portrayed by numerous movies, and history is torn on if she ruled as a despot or was victimized by circumstances beyond her control. The story of her life is very interesting and could last through several films. It is obvious from the title The Last Empress they are attempting to invoke the memory of Academy Award winner The Last Emperor, which is probably a good thing from a marketing standpoint, but does make me a little wary they don’t think this tale can stand on its own.
The Last Empress will be China-US co-production, with Seven Stars leading the way. Seven Stars producer Jake Eberts was originally attached before he passed on, and the film will be dedicated to his memory. Filming will begin in late 2013.
The story chronicles Cixi’s life and her complex relationships with Emperor Guang Xu and Imperial Advisor American Costa, both of whom shared a vision to modernize China. But due to misunderstandings, bloodshed ended Guang’s 100-day reform, sparking a violent revolution.