By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop
SINGAPORE -- "Skin Lover," a chilling story from a classic Chinese text, will be the first made-in-China fantasy horror film officially approved by the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television for production.
Singapore-based MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures CEO Daniel Yun said Thursday that the film's plot comes from "The Painted Skin," part of "Strange Tales of Liaozhai," written by Pu Songling in the 17th century.
The $15 million film, which begins production Friday in Hengdian, is directed by Gordon Chan and co-produced by Ningxia Film Studio (China), Salon Film (Hong Kong), MediaCorp. and Beijing Century Jiaying Central Development(China).
Set for release in late 2008, the film centers on a married man (Chen Kun) who falls for the irresistible appearance of a woman (Zhou Xun), not knowing she's a vixen spirit and that her appearance is actually the result of a piece of beautifully painted skin. The cast also includes Vicky Zhao Wei, Sun Li, Donnie Yen and Qi Yuwu.
Bill Liu ("The Twins Effect") is the art director. The action will be handled by Tung Wei ("Seven Swords").
"This film is very important to us because this is our first direct co-production with the Chinese, something we'd been trying to do for a long time," Yun said.
He added that 20%-30% of the film will use digital effects. "With all the new technology and so many big epic movies released in recent years, it is important that this film comes across as an updated adaptation of the tale," he said.
Ghosts feature prominently in Chinese literature but have been banned from the big screen in China for more than 30 years because state censors have until now disallowed superstitious or supernatural content in film. Even the ghost story "The Matrimony," released this year, had a plot twist in the end in order to distance the film's supernatural story from the audience.
Painted Skin starts shooting with Chan as director
Sen-lun Yu in Beijing
06 Dec 2007 10:02
Gordon Chan has replaced Wilson Yip and Andy Chin as director on the $15m mythical thriller Painted Skin, which has started shooting in Beijing.
Donnie Yen, Zhou Xun and Vicky Zhao Wei head the cast of the film which also stars Chen Kun, Sun Li and Singapore star Qi Yuwu (881, The Home Song Stories).
As announced at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June, the film is jointly financed by a group of companies headed by China's Ningxia Film Studio, Singapore's MediaCorp Raintree Pictures and Hong Kong's Salon Media Management.
Other investors include Beijing-based Time Antaeus, Shanghai Film Group, Beijing New Film Association and Beijing Ding Long Da Media Ltd. Two other investors have also recently boarded the production: Hong Kong's Golden Sun and Beijing Century Jiaying Culture Ltd.
Pang Hong from Ningxia Film Studio will serve as producer. Taiwan-based veteran producer Hsu Li-kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) has also been recruited to serve as artistic director of the film.
The film is a remake of a 1965 Hong Kong production of the same title, which tells the story of a scholar's love affair with a beautiful woman who turns out to be a bloodthirsty demoness. She devours the skins and hearts of men in order to maintain immortal beauty.
Shooting will mainly take place in Beijing and Ningxia for both outdoor and studio scenes. The production is scheduled to wrap in Feb 2008 and release is tentatively scheduled for Oct 2008. According to Salon Media Management's John Sim, Salon will handle the international sales of the film.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop