X-Men in China for 'Dark Phoenix'

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 8, 2019
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Chinese IMAX poster of "Dark Phoenix." The film will also be shown in more than 600 IMAX theaters in China. [Image courtesy of IMAX China]

"X-Men" actors gathered in Beijing to promote "Dark Phoenix," latest installment of 20th Century Fox's film franchise, while creating memorable moments in their various celebrations of the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival.

For example, actress Sophie Turner, who reprises her role of Jean Grey in the "Dark Phoenix," showed off a Chinese dress embroidered with phoenixes during a Beijing appearance on May 30.

In the film, the X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. The film is about the evolution of a female mutant struck by a mysterious cosmic force during a rescue mission in space that takes her beyond control. As the mutant family falls apart, they must find a way to unite -- not only to save Jean's soul, but also to save Earth from aliens seeking to weaponize this force to rule the galaxy.

The film is directed by Simon Kinberg, with a cast that, apart from Turner, includes other returning stars such as James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence.

For Director Kinberg, who joined the X-Men franchise in 2000 to work as a scriptwriter and producer, the film marks a significant watershed in his career, as he undertakes directing for the first time. Famous German composer Hans Zimmer is in charge of the unforgettable and epic score.

Kinberg said: "I grew up reading X-Men comics. The Dark Phoenix Saga was my favorite of the X-Men storylines. I've always dreamed of seeing it on screen. I didn't think I'd be responsible for being a part of bringing Dark Phoenix to the screen. However, when the time came to actually sit down and start thinking about the next X-Men movie, I just couldn't imagine handing this story to someone else to direct."

British actress Turner played Grey in "X-Men: Apocalypse" (2016), but she is more familiar to Chinese fans as Sansa Stark from the recently-concluded smash-hit HBO TV series, "Game of Thrones". She sees Jean Grey as a strong and powerful woman, but "this girl is fighting with herself. She really struggles through this movie."

Fassbender, playing Magneto for the fourth time, said the past decade had given him opportunities to explore the character through different stages in his life. The X-Men franchise also affected his own life, allowing him to set up his own production company and get some smaller films made.

McAvoy, who stars as the founder and leader of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier, for the fifth time, said the role had always been that of a helpful and positive force in the stories. However, he had encountered challenge this time as his fellow mutant superheroes started to cast doubt on his ideals.

More than 2,500 fans cheered the cast members and the director at the China premiere on May 29 held in Beijing that was also broadcast live to thousands of enthusiasts in Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi'an, Guangzhou and Wuhan, making it the biggest X-men fan event in the country.

The film's stars also experienced other Chinese elements during their stay in Beijing, including touring the Great Wall, enjoying Peking Opera, and eating zongzi, a traditional rice snack for the Dragon Boat Festival.

The film hit Chinese cinemas and IMAX theaters on June 6, a day before the official Dragon Boat Festival, raking in 87 million yuan ($12.58 million) at box offices on its opening day and was expected to perform strongly during the three-day national holiday.

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