A premiere ceremony for the Sino-South-Korean-Japanese epic film, Battle of Wits
, starring Andy Lau, Fan Bingbing and South Korean actor Sung-kee Ahn, was held in Beijing on Thursday.
The movie, which has been jointly funded by China, South Korea and Japan, is based on a Japanese cartoon book. The story focuses on a battle that occurred during China's historical Warring States period, when the small Liang Kingdom beat the powerful Zhao Kingdom thanks to the guidance of a wise military strategist.
Lead actor Andy Lau stars as military strategist Ge Li in the movie, who was an apprentice of philosopher Mo Zi.
When asked about whether it was the character or the story as a whole that attracted him to join the production, Andy Lau said:
"Actually I liked the cartoon version so much that I had planned to buy its film rights four years ago. But later I found out that it had been sold to director Jacob Cheung. He is my friend and I think he is the suitable director for this movie."
Since the movie's theme is based on the teachings of Mo Zi, such as "philanthropism and avoiding attack," Andy said he and the director learned a lot about Mo Zi before shooting was started.
"It is a long-term job to work on Mo Zi's teachings, and we really tried our best. When we shot the movie, all our performances and considerations were based on his teachings. "
It took director Jacob Cheung ten years to find investment and prepare the movie.
"With such a big budget and promotion, I hope more people will watch it. For me, the ten years of work means that I could express my understanding of the peace theme from a Chinese director's perspective. Though there were already countless war movies from China and abroad, I still wanted to express some different perspectives."
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing is the only female lead in the movie, who portrays a girl loved by the lead male character, played by actor Andy Lau. Many people have suggested, however, that her attractive appearance is more acknowledged than her acting performance in the movie.
She defended herself by saying, "Actors or actresses gradually make progress in each movie. No one is perfect. I will learn to become more perfect gradually. That's a good attitude at least."
The long-anticipated Chinese war epic will hit cinemas across Asia on November 23.
(CRI November 17, 2006)