Movie on Shanghai’s old Jewish community on streaming sites
Having lived in Shanghai for a few years, producer and actress Jane Wu learned that more than 20,000 Jewish refugees had taken shelter in the city after fleeing Europe during World War II.
In 2015, Wu shared the story with Sid Ganis, a former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a veteran Hollywood producer.
“Ganis is Jewish. The story resonated with him, and he believed it could be adapted into a movie,” she says in a recent interview to China Daily.
Spending nearly a year in research, Wu and Ganis have coproduced the short film, A Children’s Song, retelling the story through the perspective of two modern-day students. The 22-minute movie, which swept up around 20 prizes in the United States, will soon run on some Chinese streaming sites.
With A Children’s Song, Wu expects that her prospects will improve in Hollywood.
Born in Northeast China’s Liaoning province in 1989, Wu moved to Shanghai as a teenager. She began her career as a model but soon discovered her talent in action movies.
In 2015, she spent a lot of time learning English, especially slang and film industry jargon, to integrate with the local environment of Hollywood.
She says Hollywood is changing with regard to its taste in Chinese performers.
“The casting directors usually have someone to tell them about what kind of actresses the Chinese gravitate toward. They now not only make sure it appeals to the North American viewers but also care about the Chinese market,” TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles Wu says. “But what they regard as the most important is if the actor or actress is fit for the role, and talent.”
Compared to many outsiders struggling in Hollywood, Wu says she has been lucky.
In the past two years, she has obtained cameo roles in the big-budget blockbusters Captain America: Civil War
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Tur- andtheCityofaThousandPlanets tles was my first big Hollywood movie. I was so excited and invited my mother to the US to attend the premiere,” she says.
After seeing the movie, however, they were disappointed. Valerian Wu had a role with 11 lines but most of her scenes were edited out in the final version.
“I then comforted myself. That is Hollywood,” says Wu.
She says she will be working in the fourth movie of the Hollywood franchise xXx, starring American actor Vin Diesel.
In addition, Wu is using her connections in Hollywood to produce and host the talk show Behind the Spotlight, which is being shown on Chinese streaming site iQiyi and the satellite TV channels CCTV 6 and Shanghai TV Station since April. The show will also run in the US in the future, she adds.
The program unravels behind-the-scenes stories of some Hollywood hits through interviews with top producers and studio executives.
Luc Besson (second from right) and cast members Rihanna (left), Cara Delevingne and Kris Wu at the premiere for
in Los Angeles.
A still from A Children’sSong, a short film produced by Jane Wu (left). The work is about Jewish refugees in Shanghai during World War II. Wu is also an actress who has starred in Hollywood movies like (right).