Christian Bale to play Chinese massacre hero
|NEWS - MOVIE NEWS|
Dark Knight star to play less-empowered hero...
Dark Knight star Christian Bale is to headline a new Chinese film about that country's 1937 Nanjing Massacre. HR report that the film, which is entirely funded by China's own film industry, will utilise the VFX teams behind Saving Private Ryan and The Dark Knight. The news about Bale and the hiring of Joss Williams and Martin Asbury's Dark Side FX was revealed yesterday in a press conference to Chinese reporters.
Nanjing Heroes, directed by Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), will be a mixed-language production (40/50% Engish-Mandarin), and will feature Bale in the role of an American priest who helps various victims of the massacre to safety. Other recent Chinese-produced films about the massacre have featured German businessman John Rabe as the 'Western hook', and it has not been made clear if Bale's character is a semi-fictionalised construct or a direct biographical portrayal.
The Nanjing Massacre occurred when Japanese troops murdered thousands of Chinese nationals in the nation's then-capital in 1937. The script is written by Yan and Liu Heng, who also wrote the source novel of Zhang Yimou's successful earlier movie Ju Dou.
After presenting a five-minute montage of clips from Christian Bale's Hollywood CV (only known to the Chinese through pirated copies), Zhang said: "I met Christian in America and was impressed with his serious book research for the role." Zhang also noted that Nanjing Heroes neither has nor has sought foreign investors.
Asked if Bale's casting was promotional in nature, the director, twice nominated for an Academy Award, said: "It's the overall strategy for Chinese cinema to approach the world and broaden its influence, but casting Bale was a coincidence because the script happened to have an English-speaking part in the lead."
Nanjing Heroes begins shooting January 10th in a replica church in Nanjing.
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