China forges UK film partnership
Updated: 2014-06-05 06:52
By Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)
Chinese products have been promoted in many Hollywood blockbuster moives, including Sony's latest Spider-Man film.
China and the UK plan a series of initiatives to enhance cultural ties through their film industries. Zhang Chunyan reports in London.
Avid movie buffs will be familiar with the classic 1981 film Chariots of Fire that chronicles the life and times of legendary British sprinters Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams.
Though Liddell won a gold medal for 400m at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, very little is known about his later life as a missionary in China. An upcoming Chinese-UK co-production promises to shed more light on the flying Scot and his work in the Middle Kingdom.
Gary Kurtz, an Oscar-nominated film producer best known for his work on the original Star Wars trilogy and movies like American Graffiti, says the upcoming co-production will be China-centric and chronicle Liddell's life and death in a Japanese prison camp during World War II.
"We are going to be shooting in various places in China where the events took place. Liddell lived in Tianjin. The neighborhood, the house he lived in and the camp where foreigners were held, is still there. I was there just a couple of months ago," Kurtz says, adding that Liddell is still revered in many parts of China.
"It's a perfect example of how co-productions should be made. It has an adventurous Western character that appeals to Western audiences. The movie is set in China and all the main characters except Liddell's family are Chinese. This will make it endearing to Chinese audiences."
In the US, more Hollywood filmmakers are now finding that adding Chinese elements to films is a sure-fire way to increase earnings and box-office appeal in China. Some movies like Iron Man 3, The Karate Kid and Looper have reaped the benefits of having Chinese elements, and the upcoming Transformers movie has upped the ante by filming several fight scenes in China. James Cameron is another Hollywood director who has indicated that he is considering Chinese characters and settings for his Avatar sequels.