'The Flowers of War'
Big budget films from Greater China, albeit three very different ones, dominated the nominations for the 2012 edition of the Asian Film Awards. And Iranian drama A Separation Jodaeiye Nader az Simin continued its run of accolades.
Amassing the biggest haul was Hong Kong-Chinese 3-D action film Flying Swords of Dragon Gate ???? with seven nominations, just ahead of Christian Bale-starring The Flowers of War ????? from China, and Taiwanese mega-production Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale ??????, with six each. A Separation claimed five nominations and Hong Kong-Chinese actioner Wu Xia ?? four.
The awards will be presented in Hong Kong on 19 Mar 2012 on the eve of the territory’s annual film industry convention, Hong Kong FilMart. Prizes will be decided by a jury headed by Singaporean director Eric KHOO ??? (pictured).
The six best film nominees included four foreign language Oscar contenders – Japan’s Post Card ?????? (2010), China’s Flowers, Taiwan’s Seediq Bale and Iran’s Separation – as well as Hong Kong/China co-production Flying Swords and India’s Zindagi na milegi dobara ???????? ?? ?????? ??????. [Read more…] about ‘Flowers Of War’ Scores AFA Nominations!
Christian Bale packed up, bid his family farewell and went off to war.
The Welsh actor was drafted by acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou (“Hero,” “Curse of the Golden Flower”) to star in the country’s most ambitious and expensive film ever, “The Flowers of War,” a brutal, yet ultimately uplifting tale set during the Japanese assault on Nanjing in 1937. The movie, which opened in New York Dec. 21, goes into wider release Friday.
That Bale, 37, would be working in a country where he didn’t know the language, the sole foreigner on the set in a culture that didn’t believe in coddling the crew with days off — there are no union protections there — wasn’t going to dissuade him. He is a guy, after all, who dropped one third of his body weight for his role in 2004’s “The Machinist.”
“This was a Chinese production, a Chinese director, I was going to be very isolated in terms of the language,” Bale told the Daily News. “[But] that novel experience was something I wanted to enjoy.”
Not all of his experiences in China, though, were enjoyable.
Accompanied by a CNN camera crew and reporter, Bale took an eight-hour pilgrimage to a small village in Shandong province to pay his respects to a blind lawyer who has been put under house arrest and regular harassment by the Chinese government. The Batman actor’s attempt to visit Chen Guangcheng, an activist against forced abortions as part of the country’s one-child policy, was foiled by plainclothes security guards who roughed up Bale. [Read more…] about Christian Bale sees beauty in ‘The Flowers of War’ experience, despite being roughed up visiting activist after publicity tour in China
CS: How did you get Christian Bale involved with starring in it? He obviously had just been nominated for an Oscar at the time and this should get a larger Western audience due to his involvement. Did he have an English script for his part?
Zhang: At the beginning, I gave the English script to Steven Spielberg, a friend of mine, and asked him who he thought would be good for the part and he made a few suggestions–Christian was one of them–and then later, I asked the producers David Lindley and Bill Kong, who all recommended him as well as other candidates. When I spoke with Christian, he showed the most enthusiasm towards this project and we clicked right away even though there was the language barrier, but we felt like we could work on the same page and have the same skills working together. That’s how I got Christian Bale. One element that brought us together is that he likes to fine-tune the characters throughout the whole script. He knows that a lot of directors probably don’t want to change the wording of the script, so he was asking me if I was willing to change that and I said, “This is how I like to work. I like to change things and make it better and better over time, maybe even literally a day before shooting for that scene.” Throughout the whole process, Christian literally helped to shape the John Miller character the way he is right now and make the character a better character.
CS: I’ve heard that about Christian from other directors, that he’s very involved in developing the script and characters, but how was it working with an American in another language? I believe this is the first time you’ve directed an American actor.
Zhang: Before shooting, I actually spent tons of time with Christian, talking about the script and what has to be changed. Of course, the plot and the structure of the characters but fine-tuning the details, and literally two hours before shooting every day, we got together again just adding more details or editing out details, and that was pretty much the process. Just a lot of communication back and forth months before the production takes place and every single day before we start the scene. Christian is very humble and always asked what I wanted and then he gave me a few options as well to let me choose from.
CS: What about dealing with the issue of having known actors like Christian Bale who everyone will know and mixing them with unknown actors while trying to find the best cast?
Zhang: Actually, the older actresses that played prostitutes, they know Christian really well because they saw Batman and his previous works, so they were really nervous on the film set working with him because they knew how big a star he was. But eventually over time, he gets along with people and they don’t get as nervous as they do in the beginning. As for the younger girls, who are 12 and 13, they had no idea who he was, because they really hadn’t seen that many movies, maybe none, and they were too young to watch many of his movies anyway, so they just thought he was an American hanging out on the set. They would tease him, they’d play and make faces with him, they laugh with him, and were very relaxed around him. In terms of the crews, we definitely had to make an English call sheet, which we’d never done before and nobody knew how that was done, and Christian doesn’t even look at call sheets, but we had to make it. Also, calling out the orders had to be done in English like “Action,” “back to 1,” “roll camera, roll sound,” all those sorts of things which also were challenging for me because I had never done that before, but I learned every phase and I said it on set so everyone understood. Actually, we were so used to the English phrases after Christian left that we were still using English phrases for another few months.
Source: Coming Soon