Jet Li is the highest paid Chinese actor…EVER. The 44-year old actor was paid a cool $13 million dollars (100 million yuan) for his role in Peter Chan’s upcoming historical epic “Warlords”, and he’s not the only one striking it rich on the set. Of the film’s $40 million dollar budget, nearly half of it went to the cast, which includes Li, uber Hong Kong star Andy Lau, and Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro. The producers cite Li’s international fame and calls his addition to the cast a “guarantee” that the movie will sell globally, hence the huge paycheck, the most ever for a Chinese actor in a Chinese film.
So how did Jet Li ended up becoming the $13 million dollar man? A combination of major hits like “Fearless”, “Hero”, and more exposure thanks to his Hollywood films, most likely. Remember that even if Li’s Hollywood movies, like “Romeo Must Die” and the recent “War” didn’t exactly light the box office on fire, the Hollywood PR machine practically guarantees that the stars will get plenty of exposure internationally.
And next year, with the release of “The Mummy 3”, Li’s exposure will only increase.
“The Warlords” is an war epic based on a Qing Dynasty story and is slated for release in Asia in mid-December and sometime in March of 2008 in North America.