Xiao Yang adapts ancient myths in 'Airpocalypse'

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, December 22, 2018
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Director Xiao Yang poses for photo after he is interviewed by China.org.cn in Beijing, Dec. 17, 2018. [Photo/ China.org.cn]

Director-and-actor Xiao Yang told China.org.cn on Monday that his latest film "Airpocalypse" finds a new way to tell classic Chinese myths in a modern comedy. 

Xiao's idea was inspired by Beijing's heavy smog three years ago. "I wondered what would happen if the smog lasted for a year. What would happen to us? What would this city become? Would we pray for a god to solve the problem? And conversely, would we believe a demon was behind the smog?"

The director looked to traditional Chinese mythology for inspiration. "I think we are experiencing a renaissance of traditional culture. We have so many myths created by our ancestors, and they are the essence of traditional culture," he explained. In his view, the gods have not appeared on the big screen enough. 

"Airpocalypse," which opens on Friday, adapts the ancient myths about China's immortal weather gods and recasts them in the modern world. In order to reproduce the famous mythological entities, Xiao Yang and his team studied murals and statues in many temples. 

"The shapes and styles of the gods in the film are very Chinese. They are gods with a rustic style, coming from the ancient farming era. I hope the audience feels like the gods are those coming out of the temples."

In order to showcase the Chinese weather gods and their superhuman power, the production team sought the talents of over 20 international companies to create the special effects. Xiao Yang said the results were way beyond his expectations. 

In the film, four fallen gods, responsible for an environmental disaster, have hidden their own identity to lead inconspicuous lives in the modern world. When a human accidentally takes one of their powers, he must train to become one of them. 

Xiao's career is diverse and covers directing, singing, dancing, acting, and screenwriting. Xiao's previous career highlights include, making short films such as "Old Boys: The Way of The Dragon", singing the hit song "Little Apple", as well as starring in blockbusters such as "Some Like It Hot" and "Detective Chinatown". Despite all this success, Xiao humbly claims that, "these are opportunities that this era has granted to me".

Xiao Yang hopes that "Airpocalypse" will be the perfect New Year entertainment. "We have experienced a lot of rough things in 2018, so I hope that everyone can walk into the cinema to watch a comedy, and bid farewell to the old past and welcome the new adventures. People can feel the love and joy that the film releases to them. This is the biggest significance of making a movie."

Xiao, a gifted comedian, is also willing to expand his career. In fact, not long ago, Xiao Yang appeared in a TV show and performed with Liu Haoran in a touching drama story about saving national treasures. "I am very much willing to try serious acting. I feel that as long as a film is being made with a pure heart, I am willing to do it".

Recalling that he has grown alongside the development of the Chinese film industry in the past decade, he feels that because of China's economic development, people have more of a demand for entertainment and spiritual nourishment. At the same time, the film industry has also become more industrialized.

"The truth of business is about the pursuit of profit. And the film business is a big investment business. It must be chasing its profits. This is understandable, but I also hope that the Chinese film industry can develop in a more diversified direction in the future. There are so many groups of people in China, and if every group mobilizes, we will have a big force".

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