Bruce Beresford to direct Mao’s Last Dancer

Academy Award nominated director Bruce Beresford is set to direct the screen adaptation of Li Cunxin’s best-selling memoir Mao’s Last Dancer.

Producer Jane Scott (Shine, Head On, Love’s Brother), teams again with writer Jan Sardi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for Shine. The pair subsequently collaborated on the Sardi written and directed Love’s Brother.

Scott said that a world-wide search has just begun in order to cast the three actors to play Li Cuxin in the three stages of his life depicted in the screenplay, with the film scheduled to commence production in February 2008. Shooting will take place in China, Australia and the US.

An international publishing sensation, the book Mao’s Last Dancer won the Book of the Year Award in Australia and was short-listed for several other prestigious literacy awards. It’s in its 32nd reprint. Li’s book has been translated into several foreign languages and is sold in over 20 countries worldwide. It has just been published in China.

Mao’s Last Dancer is the inspirational true story of Li Cunxin who, as a small boy in the wake of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, was chosen to leave his peasant family and sent on an amazing journey … as it turned out towards freedom and personal triumph.

‘The timing of Mao’s Last Dancer as a film could not be better. With the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the next World Expo due in Shanghai in 2010, China is welcoming the west as never before,’ Jane Scott said.

‘I am delighted that Bruce Beresford will direct this poignant yet triumphant story, that has been brilliantly adapted for the screen by Jan Sardi.’

[release from TM Publicity for Great Scott Productions]

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