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Christian Bale to star in Zhang Yimou's movie

[ 2010-12-23 11:08]     字号 [] [] []  
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Christian Bale will lead the cast of Nanjing Heroes (tentative title), director Zhang Yimou's new work set during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, in which more than 300,000 Chinese were killed.

The Batman Begins and Public Enemies star will play an American priest trapped in a church with 13 sex workers and many female students in East China's city of Nanjing, then the national capital, when the atrocities take place.

"I was impressed by Bale's versatility and professionalism," Zhang said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

"I believe, by his performance, the film will reach a global audience who will learn more about what happened that year in China."

Bale brings to the table not only global attention but also a bigger market. Producer Zhang Weiping refused to reveal how much Bale was paid for the second China-related film of his 24-year acting career. At age 13, Bale starred in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, set in war-haunted Shanghai. But Zhang believed the investment in such a Hollywood A-lister is worthwhile.

"I expect this film to gross 200 million yuan ($30 million) overseas and 1 billion yuan in China," he said.

The highest-grossing domestic film is Feng Xiaogang's Aftershock, which raked in 600 million yuan this year.

The Nanjing Massacre, which took place during World War II, has been the subject of many films, such as local director Lu Chuan's City of Life and Death and Sino-German co-production John Rabe.

Zhang's version, based on Yan Geling's novel, features a woman's point of view of humanity in the shadow of ruthless violence. It tells the story of how 13 sex workers stand up to protect students when Japanese soldiers take girls from a church.

"'Redemption', 'courage' and 'sympathy' will be the key words of this film and what makes it a universal work for a world audience," he said.

The film's 600 million-yuan production cost, Zhang Weiping said, all came from domestic money, including funding from his company, New Pictures, a partner of Zhang Yimou's for the past decade.

All of the sex workers and students are played by new faces.

The director declined to announce the lead actress but said she speaks fluent English and appears with Bale in several scenes.


1. What American actor will star in a Chinese movie?

2. What is the movie about?

3. Who is the director?


1. Christian Bale.

2. It tells the story of how 13 sex workers stand up to protect students when Japanese soldiers take girls from a church.

3. Zhang Yimou.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Christian Bale to star in Zhang Yimou's movie

About the broadcaster:

Christian Bale to star in Zhang Yimou's movie

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.