The most widely anticipated blockbuster in Chinese cinema this year staged a pre-release for media Wednesday. "Red Cliff" director John Woo brought all the leading players to the event, including Tony Leung Chu Wai, Takishi Kanishiro, Zhang Fengyi and Chiling Lin.
"Red Cliff" is the most expensive film in China this year. It also boasts an exceptional cast. A dozen top stars featured in the film, stood side by side on stage. Usually reserved journalists welcomed them with an ovation. Woo talked about why he choose to film the epic story. He says he hopes audiences around the world will learn to appreciate China's profound cultural tradition. To that he adds, he wants audiences around the world to see that China can make films able to compete on an equal level with Hollywood's major productions.
The all-star line up, in a film about an epic conflict already are two big draws. The Chinese audience also expects some on screen magic between Tony Leung Chu Wai and Chiling Lin. They are cast as general Zhou Yu and his lover Xiao Qiao. Chiling Lin and Zhao Wei - two actresses in a film dominated by male roles -- naturally are in the spotlight.
Playing the role of the wise general Zhuge Liang was a big challenge for Takishi Kanishiro. He had to learn to play the Chinese zither for the film, opposite Tony Leung.
John Woo, also recalled the painful memory of a fire on the set of the film. One person died. Six others were injured.
The China Film Group Corporation will distribute "Red Cliff". It's expected there will be more prints in release than any film in Chinese history. After a big premiere in Chengdu, the film will open all over China next Thursday.