Zhang considers war drama as next project
Novels by Ai Mi, Yan Geling all possibilities for 'Hero' helmerHONG KONG -- Looking for a new project after finishing a comedy, Zhang Yimou is considering adaptations of novels set against China's Cultural Revolution and the Japanese invasion in World War II, his assistant said Wednesday.
The Chinese director is wrapping up an adaptation of Joel and Ethan Coen's 1984 movie "Blood Simple." Zhang's comedy about the owner of a Chinese noodle shop whose plan to kill his cheating wife and her lover is scheduled to be released in China on Dec. 11.
For his next movie, Zhang is considering four or five possible projects, Zhang's assistant, Pang Liwei, said in a phone interview Wednesday. Pang would only reveal two of the possible projects - two adaptations of Chinese-language novels.
The source material are Ai Mi's Internet-published novel "Shan Zha Shu Zhi Lian" - or "The Love of the Hawthorn Tree" - and Yan Geling's "Jin Ling Shi San Chai" or "The 13 Women of Nanjing," Pang said.
Ai's book is about the romance between a young woman and a young man from different class backgrounds during China's ultra-leftist 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution, when families from wealthy and politically incorrect backgrounds were persecuted. Yan's novel is about 13 sex workers who volunteered to replace university students as escorts for invading Japanese soldiers in 1937.
Pang said Zhang will make a final decision on his next movie based on how far the script and casting for each of the projects he's considering is coming along.
"All of the projects are being developed," she said.
An adaptation of Ai's novel would be a personal project for Zhang because his family was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution because his father and two uncles served in the Nationalist army defeated by the ruling communists.
A movie based on Yan's book would add to several recently released films about the Japanese invasion, including Lu Chuan's "City of Life and Death" and Florian Gallenberger's "John Rabe."