Sci-fi epic 'The Wandering Earth 2' strives for the best

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 19, 2022
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At the 12th Beijing International Film Festival, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi epic "The Wandering Earth 2" revealed that they are working hard to make the movie as stunning as possible.

Director Frant Gwo holds hand with veteran actor Li Xuejian, both jurors for the Tiantan Award, at a press conference during the 12th Beijing International Film Festival, Aug. 15, 2022. [Photo by Lun Xiaoxuan/]

Fu Ruoqing, chairman of China Film Group and a producer, noted at a forum on Aug. 14 that "The Wandering Earth 2" is a world-class sci-fi production. "Frant Gwo adopted high-definition format indicators for brightness, wide color gamut, immersive sound, and high contrast; most of which was filmed at 48 frames per second."

Producer Gong Ge'er said they are currently busy with post-production. "We are really on a journey of adventure. It is a real adventure. We never think about if it will sell big, but we always try to bring the best and the newest things to the audience and hope they will be entertained."

They adopted new methods, original filming procedures, and the latest technologies for the new film, aiming to give the audience the best audio-visual experience. But he admitted that there were more challenges to deal with as they were experimenting with many new things, including virtual production.

"Sci-fi is the best genre to try new technology and process innovations. Virtual filming was used throughout the making of 'The Wandering Earth 2', and previews helped us be more prepared. There were lots of experiments. Moreover, the production process for every film is never completely the same. You can always expect to brand new things beyond your imagination, which is what I love most about cinema."

The first "The Wandering Earth" installment, adapted from the world-famous Chinese sci-fi writer Liu Cixin's novella, was a milestone in China's sci-fi production and went on to make 4.69 billion yuan ($690 million) at the box office in 2019, becoming the fifth highest-grossing film of all time in China and the most influential sci-fi film ever in the country. The second installment, a prequel, is set for the 2023 Spring Festival release and is a high-profile and one of the most anticipated film projects.

A teaser poster for "The Wandering Earth 2". [Image courtesy of China Film Group]

Its director Frant Gwo joined this year's jury panel for the Beijing film festival's Tiantan Award, and so did his star actor Wu Jing. The director further revealed at a press conference for the film festival that the jury president, veteran actor Li Xuejian, had also joined the cast of "The Wandering Earth 2" and will showcase his "amazing" performance in the film.

"The Chinese film industry has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past decade, and everyone can see that," Gwo observed. "Furthermore, it requires batches of creators like us to establish and perfect the film industrial production process. We may make mistakes when making the two 'The Wandering Earth' films. But I believe our industrialization process will be quick and highly effective."

Wu Jing shared many inconveniences the crew had to overcome when making the film. Due to COVID-19, the whole team was once trapped in one location, while the production expenditures increased like crazy. "In 14 months, the director only slept four hours and drank five mugs of ice coffee daily. He was hospitalized not long ago, and I escorted him to the hospital." But Wu said he felt lucky to work with the dedicated and inspirational director and launch China's new sci-fi era together.

Actor Wu Jing, also a juror for the Tiantan Award, attends a press conference during the 12th Beijing International Film Festival, Aug. 15, 2022. [Photo by Lun Xiaoxuan/]

Gwo felt so grateful for Wu Jing's help all along the way. Moreover, Wu didn't accept remuneration for the first installment and even invested money to ease the tense budget burden. Wu also helped a lot with the new film. "The most important thing is we shared and passed on a philosophy. Brother Jing told me when he first came to aid me that I should also help others if I succeed," the filmmaker said. 

He did. A new critically acclaimed indie sci-fi film by emerging director Kong Dashan, "Journey to the West," was produced by Gwo. Kong said at another forum during the film festival that he would thank Gwo for his efforts and the great attention to the film from big studios brought by Gwo.

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