Thursday, September 24, 2009

'The Message' Well Received

Cast members (from left to right) Li Bingbing, Huang Xiaoming and Zhou Xun promote the spy thriller "The Message" at the film's Beijing premiere on September 23, 2009. [Photo:]

The highly anticipated Chinese spy thriller "The Message" lived up to expectations Wednesday when lengthy applauses wrapped up its first public screening.

The film's Beijing premiere, held at a 1,000-seat hall at the Beijing Film Academy, attracted a jam-packed house. Lasting applause burst from the audience at the end of the screening, reports.

This was the first time the WWII suspense movie was screened in front of the public in full length.

Producer Wang Zhonglei excitedly told Sina at the premiere, "My goal throughout the production had been helping our cast and crew members win applause just like now."

"The Message", set in Japanese-occupied China in the 1940s, tells the story of a Japanese spy chief who, by using cruel interrogations, tries to identify a Chinese agent from a gathered group of suspects.

Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun, two of China's top actresses, are among the film's star-studded cast. They play two of the suspects, and both have said they suffered emotional ups and downs while portraying their characters. The actresses agreed "The Message" will become their new representative work.

Taiwan director Chen Kuo-Fu and Chinese mainland's Gao Qunshu co-directed the film, with Oscar-winning Timmy Yip designing the costumes.

The film will officially hit theaters on September 30. By then, it will join a long list of tribute films marking the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Message premiere in Tianjin

September 22nd 2009 "The Message" first premiere hold in Tianjin, China. All leading actors: Zhou Xun, Li Bing Bing, Zhang Han Yu, Alec Su, Wang Zhi Wen, Huang Xiao Ming ... and director Chen Guofu participated in the ceremony. They together gave blessing to China for Revolution's 60th anniversary. Zhou Xun (as Gu Xiao Meng) said: "Iam so happy to join the movie. Three months of shooting are our great time. I also feel happy when the movie used to salute unknown heroes in the war and it is a gift for China"

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E-trans: Mylove @


Monday, September 21, 2009

The Message in Pusan


The 14th Pusan International Film Festival, to be held in the city from October 8 to 16, will close with Chinese film The Message, the organizer announced Wednesday.

Directed by Chen Kuofu and Gao Qunshu, The Message stars some of China's top actors, including Zhou Xun (Perhaps Love), Li Bingbing (A World Without Thieves) and Zhang Hanyu (The Assembly). The film features Chinese people fighting against the Japanese invaders during the War of Resistance Against Japan and is dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of New China. It will screen on the Chinese mainland September 30.

Source: Global Times


'Spies' find their way into China's big screen


Perhaps the only thing that's not mysterious about spies is that they are becoming increasingly popular with China's film and TV viewers.

And the reason for that is, well, that spies are mysterious.

This autumn, The Message (Feng Sheng) will join the growing list of flicks about the shadowy lives of secret agents.

Set during China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), it stars seven A-listers, including Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing. The movie will also feature Li's first nude scene.

Oscar-winning designer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wohu Canglong) Tim Yip handmade the entire wardrobe. The set - two villas perched on a seaside cliff -features vintage furniture and ornaments collected from all over the country. The antique sofas, lights, tableware and LPs cost more than 4 million yuan ($580,000).

The storyline is loosely adapted from a novel by Mai Jia. Following the assassination of an official of the Japanese-controlled puppet government, the Japanese chief imprisons five suspects to flush out the planted agent.

One reason for spy thrillers' growing popularity is the strict set of restrictions the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) placed on the broadcasting time and content of crime TV series in 2004.

"Viewers aren't happy about the lack of crime shows, which are packed with drama and suspense, so some directors try spy stories," Jiang Wei, writer and director of smash spy TV series Lurk (Qian Fu), was quoted as saying.

And spy flicks are cheaper to make than war films or TV series but still captivate audiences because of their dramatic plots, says Tan Fei, entertainment industry veteran and culture critic.

In 2006, the TV adaptation of Mai's best-selling novel Plot Against (An Suan) became a small-screen darling. The actors who played main roles became celebrities overnight.

A flurry of similar shows followed, the most popular of which was Lurk, which started airing this year.

Viewers were hooked to its vivid depiction of a Communist spy infiltrating the Nationalist ranks in the 1940s. Some even came to take the plotline as a guidebook to office politics.

And Ang Lee's 2007 film Lust, Caution (Se Jie) about an ordinary girl who gets caught up in the cloak-and-dagger world made an even bigger stir. While much of the hullabaloo was about the steamy sex scene, the dramatic storyline also captivated viewers.

"People like spy thrillers because they have few opportunities to know much about spies' lives and work," Tan adds. "These shows satisfy their curiosity."

And curiosity is the driving force for The Message, which is co-directed by Chen Kuo-fu from Taiwan and Gao Qunshu from the mainland.

Chen, who also wrote the screenplay, is a dynamo when it comes to creating suspense.

His last directorial work, Double Vision (Shuang Tong), was one of the most successful thrillers in Taiwan. Gao, who rose to fame after a TV series about 13 murder cases, also has a knack for keeping audiences on the edges of their seats.

Production company Huayi Brothers has kept a tight lid on the ending. To make certain it stays secret until the Sept 30 premiere, all cast and crew members signed contracts with the firm that impose a 100,000-yuan fine on anyone who doesn't keep his lips sealed.

And the directors also produced seven versions, so viewers won't know which will end up in theaters.

But despite all the pre-release secrecy, Chen says he isn't worried the first batch of viewers will spoil it for the rest.

"Suspense is an important element for a spy thriller, but it isn't everything," Chen told China Daily. "Watching the film is a lot of fun. It's like, you open a pot and find out what the food is, but that won't spoil your appetite for it."

Unlike other mainland spy films or TV series, which focus more on the mind games the characters play with one another, the new film also depicts the torture the characters endure.

It is the first time so many kinds of torture devices have been shown in a Chinese film. Inspired by many grind tools used in Europe during World War II, the prop team created dazzling devices, such as a nail-studded chair, an electrifying bed and various needles.

And all of the main actors, including Zhang Hanyu, Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun, get tortured.

Filming the scene was so powerful an experience for Li that she now becomes anxious whenever she sees a certain type of ruler - used as a torture implement in the film - in real life. And she calls Chen "a horrible writer".

The other leading woman, Zhou, often sat alone on the set, spontaneously bursting into laughter or tears. Since the filming wrapped up, she has had to drink red wine every night before bed to sleep.

Chen says he has good reasons for including such vivid torture scenes.

While doing research for the screenplay, he watched a documentary about spies during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. One thing he found was that most spies rarely talk about their work, even after returning to civilian life.

"Just like magicians, they will not reveal their tricks," Chen says.

"I think the audience has the same curiosity about their work as I do. Their mysterious experiences give me a lot of space for imagination and creation."

Chen visited a real torture chamber before shooting started. He recalls feeling chills at the sight of the devices, even though he was clad in a down coat.

"I was thrilled by the cold feeling," he says.

"I think I would confess even before undergoing any torture. So I appreciate the characters' strength of will and want the audience to know what miserable ordeals they endured."

He insists the torture scenes are not for the sake of sensationalism, like those in films such as the Saw series.

"I hope the viewers will relate to the characters and feel sorry for them, and not just feel excited about the visual aspects," he says.

Source: China Daily [2009-09-18 16:00:59]


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Message: Zhang Han Yu tosses Zhou Xun on a bed


Zhou Xun in THE MESSAGE has many scenes of abuse. During the shoot, even Best Actor Zhang Hanyu has to get rough with her. In a struggle scene, Hanyu even throws Zhou Xun on the bed and grabs Zhou Xun's neck with force. Zhang Hanyu expresses, "Zhou Xun is too petite. During the shoot I have a lot of stress. I was afraid that if I use too much force she may get hurt." Zhou Xun says that she regrets telling Zhang Hanyu not to hold back because he throws her on the bed so hard that her hhip goes numb for awhile. She has so much pain that she thinks it is shattered.

In another scene Zhou Xun has to seduce another soldier. She is dressed in a sexy sleepwear and does her best to tempt the soldier. Zhou Xun's dress is a little loose. At first during the shoot she moves so much that the strap slips and almost causes a wardrobe malfunction. The team immediately takes preventive measures. She later immediately goes to the dressing room for multiple angle tests to avoid any further embarrassing situations.



The Message: Zhou Xun, and Huang Xiao Ming flirt for stress relief


In THE MESSAGE, Zhou Xun, Li Bingbing and Zhang Hanyu were trapped within Huang Xiaoming's seaside castle and suffered his torture. One scene had to express Li Bingbing's disillusionment with her sitting on top of the tower, drinking and smoking. Li Bingbing said because Huang Xiaoming earlier abused her and she was full of hatred for him. She almost wanted to push him down a cliff.

This outdoor banquet was set on a cliff in Dali. Thousands feet below were crashing waves so the crew was extra careful. During the shoot the temperature was only five degrees Celsius, with the strong wind by the sea the cast had to withstand the piercing chill. The team even bought insurance for the actors and build extra fences to avoid any cliff side accident. Yet from the shoot, Zhou Xun still felt that she needed appropriate relaxed mentality. "I don't remember who suggested to us that we should use strange voices during rehearsal to relax a little." Huang Xiaoming also had his method of relaxation -- photography. He was very interested in photography. Since he and Zhou Xun were already familiar with THE BANQUET, on the set he asked her to be his model. They even flirted a little and brought a little entertainment to everyone.



The Message: Zhou Xun bites off Huang Xiao Ming's ear


The spy epic THE MESSAGE is scheduled for a September 30 global premiere. In the intricate and complex mystery, top stars like Zhou Xun, Huang Xiaoming and Li Bingbing put their acting on display. Often appeared with a righteous image on the small screen, Huang Xiaoming this time daringly played a Japanese military official, Takeda, who set up a scheme to start this killing game. The seven people in the scheme each had their own agenda as they battle wits and courage.

Playing siblings in THE BANQUET, Huang Xiaogang and Zhou Xun turned from family to enemies as they cruelly treated each other in the film. Huang Xiaoming even used psychological torture to put Zhou Xun on the brink. In one scene, Takeda threatened the lives of the Zhou Xun played cool and strong Gu Xiaomong's family but also played the good cop. Under the multiple thought attack she was nearly driven mad. Finally she attacked Takeda and grabbed him like an octopus. She even bit off Takeda's ear.



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zhou Xun spoke on behalf of Casio

September 10th 2009, Zhou Xun officially became spokeswoman of Casio digital camera. Here are some her pics in the press conference in Beijing.

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Download CF

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Credit: reason522 @ YTB

Some captures

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Zhou Xun's singles

by amychan @

Beside two albums, Summer (2003) and Come Across (2005), Zhou Xun has 6 singles so far. You may enjoy now.

* Movie story

* Piao Yao (a.k.a Sway)

* Partner

* Love hate

I will update more.


30 Chinese films to mark 60th birthday of New China

As the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China draws near, all walks of life are preparing a gift to celebrate the big day. China's movie industry is presenting a gift of 30 films, and the body of work was publicized by hundreds of artists at a ceremony in Beijing on Wednesday.

It's an unprecedented parade of Chinese movies. The films represent the highest achievement in art and production in the industry. The 30 films include epics like "The Great Cause of New China's Foundation", and "SHAKING THE EARTH" realistic themes like "Wedding at the Yellow River Bank" and "Glittering Days" suspense films like "The Message", as well as the documentary "Chang'an Avenue", and an animated feature "The Magic Aster".

Han Sanping, general director of "The Great Cause of New China's Foundation" said, "I'm so glad that I was assigned to helm this movie. It took me ten months to accomplish it and I only hope the audience will not be disappointed."

More than 300 Chinese filmmakers and actors attended the ceremony to publicize their movies.

Chinese mainland popular actresses Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing jointly recommended their latest work "The Message".

"The Message" is an espionage thriller set during the War of Resistance Against the Japanese Aggression.

"The Great Cause of New China's Foundation" is the most star-studded movie in Chinese history. Half of the 150 participating actors are super stars in China. Although some of them only play a minor character and have only one speaking line, they are proud to be a part of such an important work.

Actor Hu Jun said, "My sentence is very decisive in the film. I faced Chiang Kai-shi, the head of the Kuomintang and told him "We lost Yan'an"."

Actress Chen Hao said, "I played General Fu Zuoyi's daughter and my last sentence in the film was significant. I said "I know it". After that Beijing was liberated peacefully."

The 30 films are now screening in cinemas across China until October 20th.



Full Trailer For Chinese Espionage Thriller THE MESSAGE

by Todd Brown, August 7, 2009 3:23 PM

How's this for a streak: Mainland Chinese film producers The Huayi Brothers are very likely the only production house in the world that can claim - at least claim honestly - that they've never had a film lost money. And that trend looks likely to continue with The Message, a darkly slick espionage thriller from Chen Kuo-Fu (Double Vision) and Gao Qunshu (Tokyo Trial) with Zhou Xun heading up and all star cast.

1942, Nanking. Following a series of assassination attempts on officials of the Japanese-controlled puppet government, the Japanese spy chief gathers a group of suspects in a mansion house for questioning. A tense game of cat and mouse ensues as the Chinese code-breaker attempts to send out a crucial message while protecting his/her own identity.

We've run early teasers for this one in the past but the full trailer has recently arrived, is very impressive, and lurks below the break.



Zhou Xun graces 'Bazaar Jewelry'

Chinese film actress Zhou Xun appears on the cover of the latest issue of "Bazaar Jewelry," a bimonthly glossy magazine under "Harper's Bazaar". Covered herself with fine jewelry, "The Message" star looks so classic and elegant. [Bazaar Jewelry/]


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Huayi Bros Threw a Star-Studded Party

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Actress Zhou Xun showed up at the last minute alongside actor Zhang Hanyu(L) and Wang Zhongjun(R), the group's board chairman. [Photo:]

More than 80 celebrities gathered for a stellar green-themed party thrown by the Huayi Bros Thursday night, the most fabulous party to hit Beijing recently.

Huayi Bros, China's leading privately-owned media company, chose a green theme for its biyearly social event because it is launching its "Green Leaf" campaign to advocate environmental protection and a wholesome lifestyle.

Huayi's An Yi Hsuan and Duan Yihong showed up as spokesmen for the campaign.

Wang Zhonglei, president of Huayi Brothers, also appeared and announced that each gathering from here on out will feature a different theme rather than focus solely on partying and social networking, according to a report on

Celebrities reportedly appeared in alphabetical order, however, A-list actresses like Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing who have contracts with the group, seemed to get special treatment on the red carpet. Zhou Xun showed up at the last minute alongside actor Zhang Hanyu and Wang Zhongjun, the group's board chairman.

Other big stars with Huayi Bros are Annie Yi Nengjing, Vivian Hsu, Pace Wu, Alec Su, Lu Yi and Xie Na.

Founded in 1994, Huayi Bros has invested in a great number of films, like The Forbidden Kingdom, The Equation of Love and Death (Li mi de cai xiang), If You Are the One (Fei Cheng Wu Rao), John Rabe, Shadow Chasing (Zhui Ying) and The Message (Feng Sheng).


Some more Zhou Xun photos in the party

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Trailer of "Confucius" released

A film depicting the life of the ancient Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius has become a highly anticipated epic blockbuster. The movie wrapped up shooting in Beijing on Wednesday, and a ceremony was held to release the first trailer.

Renowned actor Chow Yun-Fat, who plays Confucius, and other leading actors, including Chen Jianbin and Zhou Xun, appeared at the ceremony. Chow said he took the role because Confucius is portrayed in the film as a man with much human interest.
The biopic was jointly produced by the China Film Group and Beijing Dadi Century.
The first trailer is called "Sentiment". Without any dialogue, it uses music and pictures to portray a middle-aged Confucius. The artistic sample shrouds the film in mystery by not providing any clue about the story line.

The film focuses on Confucius's life experiences from the age of 51 to 73. The great philosopher was born in the ancient Chinese state of Lu, in today's Qufu City in Shandong Province. He was a great educator, philosopher, a renowned politician, and became know as the founding father of Confucianism.

"Confucius" is set to premiere during the 2010 Spring Festival in China and Southeast Asian countries. The plot will be revealed in the second trailer, which will be released before the premiere

Zhou Xun said: “they belong to inside the Monument to the People's Heroes person. Although the movie has been exaggerating brutally, but begins in darkness, is finally bright.”



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