Xu Fan

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Cal­i­for­nia In the lat­est Hol­ly­wood­dis­as­ter thriller San An­dreas, a se­ries of mas­sive earth­quakes — in­clud­ing the big­gest in his­tory— rip cities apart as high-rises fall, the earth shifts and a tsunami washes over San Fran­cisco.

The ac­tion film, star­ring A-list ac­tors Dwayne John­son and Carla Gug­ino, opened in main­land the­aters on Tues­day.

The first dis­as­ter drama re­leased this sum­mer sea­son, it grossed 16.15 mil­lion yuan ($2.6 mil­lion) on the first day in the world’s sec­ond-largest movie mar­ket.

The movie made head­lines in China, when John­son, more familiar to fans for his wrestling name The Rock, sang the Chi­nese song Your Sweet Smile, by Tai­wan leg­endary singer Teresa Teng, dur­ing his Bei­jing pro­mo­tional tour on May 28.

Avoid­ing the sim­ple cliche “ni­hao” (hello) — the open­ing gam­bit of many for­eign stars at their China me­dia events— the cast of San An­dreas


col­laps­ing! ap­peared more pre­pared to ex­cite movie­go­ers on this side of the world.

In a one-minute trailer tai­lored for the Chi­nese mar­ket, John­son asks in Man­darin, “Wo men yue ma?”, a popular net­work greet­ing lit­er­ally mean­ing “Are we dat­ing?”, to lure Chi­nese fans to the cine­mas.

The for­mer pro­fes­sional wrestler even won the ti­tle “the king of self­ies” from lo­cal me­dia, af­ter he used a smart­phone to snap por­traits with more than 100 re­porters. That was no sur­prise from John­son, who re­cently set a Guin­ness World record by tak­ing 105 por­traits in three min­utes along­side scream­ing fans at the film’s Lon­don pre­miere last month.

“I connect with fans around the world. The unique thing here for me is the re­ac­tion from Chi­nese China Daily.

He said that dur­ing his morn­ing train­ing in a Bei­jing gym, John­son found all the Chi­nese fans sim­ply qui­etly watched and waited un­til he fin­ished ex­er­cis­ing.

“It’s re­spect­ful. Only when I fin­ished, it's like chaos,” says the su­per­star, smil­ing.

The 43-year-old ac­tor achieved his first Guin­ness World record in 2002, whenhe be­came the high­est-paid ac­tor for a lead de­but in The Scor­pion King. He re­ceived $5.5 mil­lion for the ac­tion film.

An­other high­light in San An­dreas is Ital­ian-Amer­i­can actress Gug­ino. Best-known for her role as In­grid Cortez in the Spy Kids movies, Gug­ino re­veals that her big­gest chal­lenge was “act­ing with a green screen”, as nearly 65 per­cent of the con­tent, amount­ing to



tells 1,400 spe­cial-ef­fect scenes, is based on com­puter-graph­ics tech­nol­ogy.

“It re­quires a lot of imag­i­na­tion, even though we were given help by pre­views so we were able to see how big it might be.”

Trained to pi­lot a mil­i­tary speed­boat to crash into a high­rise and res­cue her fam­ily, Gug­ino says the huge amount of stunts won her some ku­dos on the set.

How­ever, de­spite The Rock’s global star power, Warner Broth­ers’ big-bud­get new ti­tle is get­ting mixed re­views from crit­ics.

Set ina fic­tional dis­as­ter trig­gered by the rup­ture of the real San An­dreas Fault, which extends roughly 1,200 kilo­me­ters through Cal­i­for­nia, the moviecen­ter­son­the re­u­nion of a bro­ken fam­ily af­ter experiencing the mega dis­as­ter.

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