China's Lu Chuan Links With Hollywood on Sci-fi Debut (Exclusive)

Lu Chuan

Lu hooks up with VFX powerhouse Prime Focus as he emerges from the art house to embark on his first commercial outing

One of China’s most celebrated younger film directors, Lu Chuan, has enlisted top Hollywood VFX company Prime Focus as he starts lensing his first commercial film, a big-budget sci-fi action movie.

“I invited Prime Focus to take part, and there are several leading supervisors from Hollywood and Western companies working with us,” Lu tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Prime Focus’ recent credits include World War Z and White House Down.

Shooting began at the start of August in China Film Group’s facilities at Huairou near Beijing.

“It’s a fresh, new experience for me. It takes a while for me to get used to making a commercial movie. I love to watch thrillers and action movies, now I get to make one,” Lu says.

The movie is as yet untitled. For a working title, its Chinese name is Gui Chui Deng which translates as “The Ghost blows out the Lamp.”

“It won’t be a ghost story. It’s a science fiction adventure film,” says Lu, who was coy about revealing the budget figure, saying only it was “a lot for a Chinese movie.”

Backing the movie are state-owned giant China Film Grou and the privately owned LeVision group, and another major backer, believed to be an e-commerce company with a new film arm, is expected to get on board soon.

Lu is best-known overseas for his 2004 thriller set among hunters on the Tibetan plateau, Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, and his elegiac black-and-white feature about the Japanese army’s massacre of Chinese civilians in Nanjing during WWII, City of Life and Death (2009). He also scored critical plaudits with 2012's The Last Supper.

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