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Christian Bale starring in new 100 million Chinese film

From Nolan to Nanjing? Directed by the legendary Zhang Yimou, the Oscar winner is the first major Westerner to play a lead role in a Chinese movie with Rape of Nanking epic "The Flowers of War." In the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, days after "The Dark Knight Rises" filming wrapped, the pair discuss what it means for business in China, and if the language barrier mattered: "Yimou actually wanted Christian Slater but ended up with me," jokes Bale

In the current issue of The Hollywood Reporter, senior film reporter Pamela McClintock sat down with the notoriously press-shy Christian Bale, 37, and famed 60-year-old Chinese director Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern), who together just finished making the most expensive Chinese movie ever, the historical epic, The Flowers of War. The movie centers on Bale as a mourning American mortician who seeks refuge in a Catholic cathedral and finds himself in the middle of a war, in a story based on the Rape of Nanking, the brutal invasion of Nanking by the Japanese army in 1937. The movie will be released for one week in America in late December; it premieres in China on Dec. 16. In this exclusive interview, the men, who clearly like each other enormously, reveal how an American actor came to be the star of a Chinese major motion picture, Bale's 20-year fascination with the director, and how they overcame cultural and language barriers

With a penchant for demanding and far-flung assignments, Bale says he quickly accepted the offer to star in Zhang's epic when it came to him through his William Morris Endeavor agents Patrick Whitesell and Boomer Malkin, even though he spoke no Mandarin (Mou Mou translated on the set). "Some people scratched their heads when I told them I wanted to do the project and said, 'Really, why?' I don't understand that sort of thinking," says Bale. "I like the adventure aspect of making movies, so the opportunity to work in China, not on an American movie, but on a Chinese movie, really appealed to me. How many times do you get that sort of opportunity, and on top of that, get to work with a fantastic director? It was a no-brainer." Says Whitesell: "One of the reasons I was excited was that this will up Christian's exposure in China. It could be China's Saving Private Ryan."


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