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Steven Spielberg Recommended Christian Bale for 'Flowers of War': Zhang Yimou


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#1 brightlight

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 05:26 PM

Actor Christian Bale landed the starring role in the Chinese film The Flowers of War due to Steven Spielberg who recommended Bale to director Zhang Yimou.

According to Hollywood Reporter, Steven Spielberg had a hand in actor Christian Bale landing the role of John Miller in the Chinese film The Flowers of war, directed by Zhang Yimou. After The Flowers of war premiere in China on Sunday, Yimou told reporters that it was Steven Spielberg who recommended Christian Bale for the starring role. β€œI asked Steven Spielberg, who is a friend,” said Yimou, β€œto read the English script and recommend actors.”

One of those suggestions was Bale, who had starred as a child actor in Spielberg's own turn directing in China, 1987's Empire of the Sun, also based on a novel set during Japan's World War II occupation of eastern China.

Spielberg then encouraged Bale to work with Zhang. "He passed [Zhang] Yimou a letter to give to me, and it said, 'do it.'"

With a budget of $100 million, the film is the most expensive ever made in China, as much as last year's top domestic box office performer, Feng Xiaogang's Aftershock, grossed. Despite that, Zhang brushed off any suggestion that it put greater commercial pressure on him for the film to perform.

"Directors shouldn't think about these things. It prevents you from making a good movie," Zhang said.

The two-time Oscar-nominated director similarly dodged a question about whether Flowers was an attempt to finally win that trophy. "Winning an Oscar was not the goal. We only wanted to create good art and make a good film," he said. "I don't really understand the Oscar process much, so it's up to luck."

Zhang, who also directed the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games, is representing China again with Flowers as the country's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film award.

Bale plays John Miller, an American drifter who finds himself in the then-Chinese capital in 1937, just as the Nanjing Massacre -- which saw invading Japanese troops rape and murder thousands of Chinese civilians -- is getting underway. A group of young prostitutes take refuge in a church near the brothel where they work, and Miller, donning clerical robes, offers them protection from the invaders.

The film is set to open wide in China on Dec. 16, followed by a limited U.S. release on Dec. 23.

source: DeadBolt,Hollywood Reporter