Christian Bale has sealed a deal with Zhang Yimou, China’s most famous director and the director of the Beijing Olympics, to work on the upcoming $90.2 million “Nanjing Heroes” film about the Nanjing Massacre.
Zhang Yimou said in a press conference Wednesday, “I met Christian in America and was impressed with his serious book research for the role.”
The budget for the film is enough to do effects similar to The Dark Night or Saving Private Ryan. Zhang Weiping of New Picture Film Company will be producing the film, while Joss Williams and Martin Asbury’s Dark Side FX were also hired. The script will be written by Yan and Liu Heng.
The Nanjing Massacre is when Japanese troops killed thousands of Chinese citizens in what was then the nation’s capital in 1937. Several Chinese films have produced this story, each of which has included the character of John Rabe, a German businessman who helped save hundreds of Chinese refugee. Although Christian Bale will not be playing Rabe, the actor will portray an American priest named John who also helped a number of Chinese escape certain death.
The film will be shot about 40% in English and the rest in Mandarin Chinese, sources close to the project told The Hollywood Reporter. Zhang made no other cast or crew announcements.
Director Zhang’s highest grossing film was the 2002 period war flick “Hero,” which starred Jet Li and took $54 million in the U.S. box office. Zhang has been nominated for an Oscar twice. At the Berlin Film Festival, Zhang has won the Golden Bear award in 1987 for “Red Sorghum,” the Alfred Bauer prize in 2002 for “Hero” and competed this year with “A Woman, A Gun and a Noodle Soup.”
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