Christian Bale joins Zhang Yimou's WWII film

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Actor Christian Bale

Actor Christian Bale [CRI]

Not Tom Cruise. Not Leonardo DiCaprio. The Hollywood actor starring in Chinese director Zhang Yimou's new film is Christian Bale!

The "Dark Knight" star will play a missionary working in 1930s Nanjing. The film "Jinling Shi San Chai" ("The Thirteen Women of Jinling"), is set in what was once the Chinese capital at the time of the Nanjing Massacre.

Based on a novella by Chinese-American author Yan Geling, the film tells the story of a group of people seeking refuge in a place of worship. As war raged around them thirteen prostitutes broke into a church. They were then joined by several Chinese soldiers who'd survived a battle with the Japanese invaders. This caused problems for the church workers and a group of boarding school girls.

Producer Zhang Weiping said earlier the film would feature an A-listed Hollywood star, triggering rumors that the role would go to Tom Cruise or Leonardo DiCaprio.

Shooting is set to start in January, and Zhang Yimou has promised to use new actresses in the film.

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