'Transformers 4' to cast Chinese actors

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 19, 2013
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Marc Ganis, President and co-founder of Jiaflix, and Liang Longfei (L), Vice President of China Movie Channel's official movie website M1905.com, launched 'Transformers 4 Chinese Actors Talent Search' at a press conference held during the 3rd Beijing International Film Festival, April18, 2013. [China.org.cn]

Marc Ganis, President and co-founder of Jiaflix, and Liang Longfei (L), Vice President of China Movie Channel's official movie website M1905.com, launched "Transformers 4 Chinese Actors Talent Search" at a press conference held during the 3rd Beijing International Film Festival, April18, 2013. [China.org.cn]

Paramount Pictures will partner with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises to co-produce the fourth installation in the Michael Bay blockbuster "Transformers" series, and cast Chinese actors via a reality show, an executive from Jiaflix announced Thursday during the 3rd Beijing International Film Festival.

According to the agreement, China Movie Channel will work with the filmmakers on casting Chinese actors in the movie. "We are going to recruit some Chinese actors, stunt doubles, and shoot some scenes on the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong," Michael Bay said in a video clip played during the press conference.

Four people will win roles through the "Transformers 4 Chinese Actors Talent Search Reality Show," which will be open to professionals and amateur actors. The four roles have respective descriptions of Kung Fu fighter, sexy lady, computer geek, and cute Loli. The contestants must be over 18-year-old and be able to speak English, it was announced.

A TV reality show is planned for the talent search, and will be broadcast on China Movie Channel in June.

The panel of judges for the upcoming "Talent Search Reality Show" includes: Sid Ganis, former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science and present chairman of Jiaflix Enterprises; Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer of "Transformers 4"; Denise Chamian, Casting Director for "Transformers 4"; Megan Colligan, President of Marketing and Distribution of Paramount Pictures; Jia Qi, Deputy Director of China Movie Channel; and Liang Longfei, Vice President of China Movie Channel's official movie website M1905.com.

In addition to these four actors, there will also be two top Chinese professional actors in the film. But both Paramount Pictures and China Movie Channel have kept silent in regards to who these two actors will be, and have only revealed that negotiations are currently underway.

Chinese movie stars Chen Kun, Huang Xiaoming, and Tong Dawei as well as actress Fan Bingbing are all rumored candidates for the role.

Marc Ganis, President and co-founder of Jiaflix, said at the press conference that Chinese actors in the film will be "meaningful" and there will be no Chinese exclusive version like "Iron Man 3."

"China's culture, talents, and nation will be shown to everyone in the world," Ganis said. "There will be no Chinese version, but a single international version."

Ganis didn't comment the rumored budget of US$165 million but said the film will be very expensive, and this is not the end of the franchise but the first of new Transformers trilogy.

Paramount Pictures, China Movie Channel and Jiaflix entered into a cooperation agreement on April 1, 2013 regarding the production of "Transformers 4" in China, including broad-based support of the production of the movie and filming sites in China as well as theatrical promotion and the casting of Chinese actors and actresses in the movie. This marks the first time that a major Hollywood studio will cast actors from China through a nationally televised talent search reality show.

Paramount Pictures, Jiaflix and China Movie Channel also invited Chinese brands and real estate companies to discuss the possibilities of Chinese advertising placements in the film.

Four Chinese brands, including Shuhua Low Lactose Milk made by China's homegrown dairy brand Yili, Meters/bonwe, Lenovo and TCL, appeared in "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon."

Paramount was the first major studio to officially partner with Jiaflix to help distribute films in China and has agreed to supply Jiaflix with more than 250 films annually, while China Movie Channel and its official movie website M1905.com have been working with Jiaflix to launch a Netflix-like movie-streaming service to import Hollywood movies for Chinese television and Internet, as well as introduce Chinese movies to the North American market.

Two of the judges, Sid Ganis and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, sent their congratulations via video clips played at the press conference.

"On behalf of Jiaflix, I am pleased to be participating with CCTV-6 and m1905 in the talent search for Transformers 4, which will soon be shooting in China," said Sid Ganis. "This will give actors and fans of the Transformer franchise the opportunity to appear in a major motion picture, and it will provide the world audience with yet another glimpse of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and China itself."

"All of us working on 'Transformers 4' are looking forward to becoming more and more part of the Chinese audience's experience by bringing Chinese culture, Chinese traditions and Chinese talent into the movie," said Lorenzo di Bonaventura. "I want to wish all the actors and actresses who participate in our talent show the greatest luck. Your talent will be a great addition to the movie."

"Transformers 4," directed by Michael Bay and starring Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, and Jack Reynor, is due in theatres on June 27, 2014. Bay's 2011 smash hit "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" took in US$1.1 billion worldwide, including US$165 million in China.

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