ORLANDO IN FULL BLOOM The Hollywood star comes to Beijing to promote S.M.A.R.T. Chase, a movie produced by a Chinese company. Xu Fan reports.
While on a red carpet, English actor Orlando B loom responds to screaming Chinese fans, signing autographs and posing for photos with them.
Scenes like these where a Hollywood star is in China to promote an upcoming film are frequent since the country overtook Japan to become the world’s second-largest movie market in 2012.
But the Beijing tour of Bloom, known for playing Legolas in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, is a bit different.
S.M. A.R.T. Chase, the thriller that Bloom promoted last week in Beijing, is a title backed by Chinese filmmakers.
The film, produced by Shanghai-based Chinese studio Bliss Media, is directed by British director Charles Martin.
Except for Bloom, the other stars are Chinese. They are teenage star Wu Lei, who shot to prominence with the hit TV series Nirvana in Fire; Taiwan model-actress Hannah Quinlivan; actress Xiong Dailin, known for her role in the Ip Man franchise; veteran actor Ying Da and actress Liang Jing.
The movie, set in Shanghai, is about a missing Chinese antique.
In the film, Bloom plays a private security agent leading his team, known as S.M.A.R.T. (Security Management Action Recovery Team), to locate the treasure.
Han Wei, president of Bliss Media and the movie’s executive producer, says: “We’ve seen many Hollywood blockbusters hit Chinese screens. It makes us proud to see a Chinese movie go abroad now.”
The Shanghai-based firm has close business ties with Hollywood, having previously distributed Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge in China and co-financing the biographical drama Jackie starring Natalie Portman.
The producers say that the movie’s overseas distribution rights have been sold to 45 countries and areas. And it will open across the Chinese mainland during this year’s National Day holiday week from Oct 1 to 7.
For Bloom, 40, this film is his first role in a Chinese movie.
Bloom has a huge fan base in China. On the Chinese Twitter-like Sina Weibo, which is also his first social networking account, he is now followed by 2.1 million fans.
Speaking about his experiences in China, Bloom says: “I had a wonderful time shooting the movie in China. And I had amazing actors and actresses to work with.
“We had a really fun script. It feels very authentic to Shanghai. And the character is realistic too.”
In the movie, Bloom’s character escorts the antique on its way from Shanghai to Vancouver but he is ambushed en route.
A lot of the action scenes were shot in Shanghai, one of China’s most internationalized cities, and many landmark buildings there are featured in the movie.
Giving more details about the film, where all the lines are spoken in English, Han says that the movie provides a glimpse of modern China and its lifestyle.
She also says Bloom will tour around 10 Chinese cities to promote the movie, something rarely done by a Hollywood A-lister.
Typically such stars visit Shanghai or Beijing for pro- motional events.
Meanwhile, for Bloom, the local food was a great attraction.
His favorite food item was the xiaolongbao (a steamed bun popular in Shanghai).
As for refusing to use standin stuntmen, he says: “The producers didn’t really want me to shoot action sequences. But I was very determined because I felt it was important for the character.
“I think when you see some action movie stars … like those hanging outside buildings ... you know it’s them. I want to make sure you (the audience) know it’s me.”
While asked if his starring in a Chinese movie will encourage more projects in China, he says: “I believe there will be more Hollywood stars doing movies in China.”
“I certainly had a great experience here. I think they will too.”
We’ve seen many Hollywood blockbusters hit Chinese screens. It makes us proud to see a Chinese movie go abroad now.”
Han Wei, president, Bliss Media
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org
The upcoming thriller S.M.A.R.T.Chase, featuring English actor Orlando Bloom and stars such as teenage actor Wu Lei, actress Xiong Dailin, veteran actor Ying Da, actress Liang Jing and Taiwan model-actress Hannah Quinlivan, will open in Chinese mainland theaters during this year’s National Day holiday week.
English actor Orlando Bloom