Andy Lau, Matt Damon, ex-Exo member Lu Han to star in Zhang Yimou's movie The Great Wall

BEIJING - For his new blockbuster The Great Wall, Zhang Yimou has assembled a cast of big names and rising stars, from Matt Damon and Andy Lau to Eddie Peng and former Exo member Lu Han.

They will join Chinese actors such as Zhang Hanyu (The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, 2014), Lin Gengxin (Scarlet Heart, 2011), Zheng Kai (Running Man, the Chinese adaptation of the South Korean variety show) and Wang Junkai, a 15-year-old member of TF Boys, the hottest Chinese pop group now, says NetEase website.

American actors Pedro Pascal (Game Of Thrones) and Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, 2002) will also star in the action movie, which is not only Chinese director Zhang Yimou's first co-production but also his first English-language film.

The cast was announced by American studio Legendary Pictures, whose Hong Kong-based venture Legendary East is producing the US$135 million (S$187 million) movie.

The film is being positioned as the largest to shoot wholly in China for worldwide distribution, says Variety website. The movie is set in 15th century China and pits soldiers against mythical creatures on the Great Wall.

Production is scheduled to start in China at the end of this month and the film is set for a 3-D release in 2016, says The Hollywood Reporter.