Today Kim Jee-woon (The Good, the Bad, the Weird and I Saw the Devil) begins shooting his English language debut, The Last Stand. The film is notable for being the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to a starring role. Arnie plays a former LAPD officer now working as a small-town sheriff, who has to deal with a drug kingpin who is fleeing to Mexico and will pass right through his town.

The obligatory ‘start of production’ press release is below, complete with the same plot synopsis we’ve had for a while. Along with that is the announcement of a few actors who are part of the film, including Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, and one of my personal faves, Harry Dean Stanton.

Here’s the press release. The final paragraph is the one to skip to if you just want the plot synopsis; sadly it doesn’t have any new info about what characters the newly-announced actors will be playing.

LIONSGATE®, a leading global entertainment company, is pleased to announce the start of production on Kim Jee-Woon’s THE LAST STAND, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The announcement was made by the President of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group Joe Drake, and President of Production Michael Paseornek.

The shoot, which begins on October 17, 2011, will take place across locations in New Mexico and Nevada.

Rounding out the cast are Zach Gilford (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), Forest Whitaker (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND), Luis Guzman (CARLITO’S WAY, BOOGIE NIGHTS), Rodrigo Santoro (CHE, I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS), Johnny Knoxville (The JACKASS films), Jaimie Alexander (THOR), Eduardo Noriega (OPEN YOUR EYES), Peter Stormare (FARGO, THE BIG LEBOWSKI) and Harry Dean Stanton (AILIEN, THE GREEN MILE).

Korean action-suspense master Kim Jee-Woon (A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD) is directing the film, which is based on a spec script by Andrew Knauer that was subsequently rewritten by Jeffrey Nachmanoff. Lionsgate has domestic and international distribution rights, with the film having pre-sold well in several overseas territories prior to its production. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing the film through his di Bonaventura Pictures.

Schwarzenegger stars as Sheriff Owens, a man who has resigned himself to a life of fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with failure and defeat after his partner was crippled. After a spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy, the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the hemisphere is hurtling toward the border at 200 mph in a specially outfitted car with a hostage and a fierce army of gang members. He is headed, it turns out, straight for Summerton Junction, where the whole of the U.S. law enforcement will have their last opportunity to make a stand and intercept him before he slips across the border forever. At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately accepts responsibility for one of the most daring face offs in cinema history.

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