With American blockbusters dominating the Chinese box office recently, domestic artists have been searching for ways to hitch a ride on that wave of highly-produced success. And, really, what better way is there than to describe your future fantasy film series as the “Chinese Lord of the Rings?”
In an interview with Xinhua at the 68th Cannes Film Festival, Chinese novelist Cang Yue introduced her planned film project based on “The Mirror,” her unique series of best-selling fantasy novels, thusly: “We want to create a Chinese Lord of the Rings. There are two rings in the story and the origin of the book comes from there.”
Apart from having more than One Ring to rule them all, the series also features love, war AND magic in an epic tale that spans not only decades, but oceans as well, in a fantastical land full of sorcery, romance, kung fu, but probably not Hobbits—that would be a little much. The six-book series has already sold more than 7 million copies.
The first planned film The Mirror: Twin Cities will be based on the first book in the series, which Cang finished eight years ago. She said she had to wait for visual effect technology to catch up with her imagination before being able to turn it into a movie, but hopes to use the latest CGI technology to bring all her characters in the series to life.
Boasting some pretty sweet special effects, the final installment in the Hobbit trilogy has earned some $120 million in China after its January release, making the third highest grossing film in China this year, for now.
But Cang doesn’t just want her film to be a hit at home—she sees the potential for the planned Hollywood-level China-Canada coproduction to be popular abroad as well. After all, she she does deal in fantasy.
The books will each be published in English before their film adaptation is released. The script of the first movie is not yet finished. It’s being adapted by veteran screenwriter John Collee, whose film scripts include Master and Commander and Happy Feet.
Meanwhile, the production of the movie will be in the capable hands of Liming Ke (So Young and Tiny Times), Danny Bergeron (Jupiter Ascending and X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Andrew Mason (The Matrix).
Cang Yue also managed to invoke another seminal blockbuster hit for comparison’s sake, saying that she hopes that “the emotions, affection and love among all the characters will touch foreign audiences in the way that Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon did.” Ang Lee’s surprise crossover sensation raked in $213 million at box offices worldwide, against a $17 million budget.
“Even if we have a different culture, I would like to use this oriental style of love and emotion among characters and to touch Western people’s hearts,” Cang said. So, Lord of the Rings, crossed with some Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, with a little Tiny Times thrown in? Sounds like a recipe for box office gold to us!
by Alex Linder
[Images via Xinhua]