UPDATE: French media has been citing this article left and right, which led to Lorie Pester’s talent agency ECI to tweet one of the articles. If that’s not a confirmation I don’t know what is…just remember, you heard it here first!
French singer/actress Lorie Pester has been cast opposite Jackie Chan in the action extravaganza Dragon Blade, currently shooting under the direction of Daniel Lee (Black Mask, 14 Blades,…), we can exclusively report.
The historical epic, which also stars American actors John Cusack (Being John Malkovich) and Adrien Brody (The Pianist), is set to be China’s most expensive production to date with a budget of $65 million. It tells the story of a Roman general (Cusack) who disappears into Han Dynasty China with his 1,000 man legion and is hunted down by Tiberius (Brody), another Roman general. Chan plays a Chinese commander who teams up with Cusack.
Pester spent most of last week shooting scenes for the film in the Gobi desert. It is unclear at this point what role she is playing, but it is safe to say her character is connected to Cusack’s in some way as the two seem to have become fast friends based on their flurry of tweets.
Nevertheless this casting is sure to mark a turning point in the career of the young woman, who has been written off by many in her home country but may end up being an action star to watch.
Lorie, as she was initially simply known, burst onto the French musical scene in 2000 at the age of 18 and became an instant sensation and one of the very first performers discovered through the Internet (where her single was initially offered as a free download as no label wanted her).
Over the next few years Lorie, who gained a reputation as a French version of Britney Spears, aligned hit after hit and became one of France’s best known and most influential celebrities, to the point where the term “Loriemania” was coined. At the height of her success, she was at the head of an empire which, in addition to an array of sold-out concerts, best-selling CDs, live DVDs and autobiographical picture books, put her at the head of both a fashion line and a toy line.
It seemed Lorie could do no wrong and everything she touched turned to gold. She became the youngest celebrity to be immortalised at the Grevin Wax Museum and was even considered to be the new face of Marianne, a fictional woman who is one of France’s most powerful symbols. To this date she remains one of France’s best-selling artists, having sold more CDs locally in the past decade than international superstars such as Madonna, Shakira and Rihanna. Not bad for someone who initially aspired to be a figure skater.
Unfortunately this incredible success proved to be incredibly short-lived as each album sold significantly less than its predecessor until her 2011 effort Regarde-Moi (“Look at Me”) proved such an unmitigated disaster that Sony Music decided to get rid of its once shining star. A cover album produced independently the next year (Danse) did not fare any better.
Seemingly overnight, Lorie went from adulated idol to hasbeen joke in the French public opinion and became a tabloid celebrity better known for her romantic entanglements than her actual work, with attempted comebacks such as competing in Dancing with the Stars proving futile.
However Lorie turned out to be smarter than her critics gave her credit for, for as her musical career was waning she had already embarked on the slow journey to establish herself in the film world, taking back her surname, Pester, in the process.
Starting out with some dubbing work (she has been the official French voice of Disney’s Tinkerbell since the 2008 film, among others), she went to star in a number of French television films and shows, with appreciative reviews and even made a guest appearance as a model in The Young and The Restless when the American soap came to shoot a few episodes in Paris in 2008. A short film she starred in is currently running a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Yet it is China that has ended up being the unexpected boost in Lorie’s new career, when the fledgling actress attended the Beijing International Festival last year. There, she met director Jean-Marc Minéo (Bangkok Revenge) who cast her as a villain in his Algerian action/spy/martial arts movie Gates of The Sun: Algeria Forever (to be released later this year), an announcement which was made the next month at the Cannes Film Festival, where Lorie walked the famous red carpeted steps with Chinese actor Jiang Wu (A Touch of Sin).
But even more importantly it is also there that she met action superstar Jackie Chan (picture above) and things evidently went well as here she is now, in China, working with the man himself on his ambitious new film set to be released February of next year in IMAX 3D.
With roles in two intriguing and ambitious martial arts films, could Lorie Pester become a promising new female face for action cinema? Could she be the extremely rare French thespian to gain notoriety and a stable career internationally, she who, ironically, has been dismissed in her own country? It is all that we can hope for this hard-working and talented underdog, whose work we’ve previously highlighted on the site.
Until we have further news, we leave you with Lorie’s two showreels (“action” and “acting”) and respectively the first, best-selling and latest of her music videos. Sound off in the comments!