Chinese action hero Wu Jing and his fellow actors in the upcoming mountaineering adventure film The Climbers brought a big dose of star power to the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday.
The actor — China’s reigning box office king, thanks to mega-blockbusters Wolf Warrior 2 and The Wandering Earth — bounded to the stage at a packed gala hosted by Shanghai Film Group to unveil the first official trailer for his next action spectacle. (See the trailer below.)
Wu was accompanied at the event by the film’s all-star production team and cast, including director Daniel Lee; producer Tsui Hark; actors Yi Zhang (Operation Red Sea), Jing Boran (Monster Hunt) and Hu Ge (Wild Goose Lake); and A-list actress Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The only bold-faced name from the feature not in attendance was perhaps the biggest, Jackie Chan, who is credited in the film as making a “special appearance.”
The Climbers dramatizes the real-life expedition of Chinese mountaineers Wang Fuzhou, Gonpo and Qu Yinhua, who made a historic ascent up Mount Everest’s North Ridge in 1960. The Chinese team was the first to successfully climb Everest’s north side, which is known to be especially perilous. The trio famously left a small statue of Chairman Mao atop the summit before returning midway down the mountain to heroically rescue a fourth member of their team who was unable to complete the mission.
Introducing the trailer to the assembled Chinese media in Shanghai, Wu mentioned that he had done some real-life climbing in the past, but had never managed to climb above 6,000 meters (approximately 20,000 feet — Mt. Everest is over 29,000 feet above sea level).
“I injured my leg that time and had to turn back,” he explained. “Realistically, I didn’t think I would ever make it that high up a mountain again in this life. But if I could do it via a film, that is a treasure to me.”
Wu said that while filming The Climbers in China’s remote Qinghai Provence, he suffered from a cold and altitude sickness early in the shoot and was forced to retreat to base camp. “To experience the effects of altitude, and a sickness, was what I needed [to get into the role],” said the actor. “It was important to understand how difficult it was for these mountaineers, and to appreciate how they behold the highest mountain with awe.”
The filmmakers also unveiled the China release date for The Climbers: The film is set to bow Sept. 30, a prime position on the eve of the country’s patriotic National Day holiday period from Oct. 1-7, which is expected to generate a box office bonanza.