The blockbuster Cloud Atlas will soon hit theatres across China. On January 21, some of the film's cast and crew attended a press conference at the Great Wall Hotel in Beijing, including the three directors Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, as well as Chinese star Zhou Xun, who plays three roles in the film: a clone, a refugee, and a man.
Cloud Atlas is based on David Mitchel's best selling novel under the same name. It tells a complicated story of retribution and reincarnation. Director Lana Wachowski said she loves oriental culture, having been influenced by the Chinese novel Journey to the West in her childhood. Director Tom Tykwer also believes the film's philosophy may be easier for oriental audiences to appreciate.
Lana said: "David Mitchel lived in Japan for quite a long time and married a Japanese woman. He and his book is interested in eastern and western philosophies are different and the same. In the west, the immortality is located somewhere else. You are in the world and there is the heaven and hell. But I prefer the Buddhism that our actions and consequences, our immortal selves are still based in this world. It helps you think about being connected in the world in the way the west often disconnect you from the world."
Zhou is a household name in China. Only last year, she had two blockbusters hit domestic big screens. However, as her first time performing outside China, she said she wasn't quite used to the difference of language and culture.
"The biggest difficulty for me is the language. My English is not very good so I'm very nervous when acting. I remember once Lana changed lines for me. I told her not to, because I'd been reciting them over and over. If you change them, my mind will be messed up. Lana then said her job was to mess up my mind," Zhou said.
However, one of the directors Andy said: "While she was nervous, she didn't seem like she was nervous. So you can tell she was good actor from that."
Zhou spent one month shooting the film. She has three characters in the film: a female clone, a refugee with a western face, and a male manager. The three directors all voiced their appreciation of her work.
"It's a diverse sense of combination of roles we are offering. I think Zhou's intensity focus in the parts help a lot to make that connection work," the other director Tom said.
Cloud Atlas is largest overseas investment for Chinese film companies. Of its $100 million budget, one tenth comes from Chinese company Dreams of Dragon Pictures, ranking only second to Warner Brothers on the global investors list.
The film raked in around $27 million in America's box-office since it hit screens last October. With a $44 million overseas revenue, the film has yet to recoup on its initial investment. However, the film has yet to be released in a number of countries, including Japan, Britain and France.
For the Chinese audience, Cloud Atlas will be unveiled on January 31. As the Chinese Lunar New Year falls on February 10, the cast and crew all believe it will be a great new year gift.
(CNTV.cn January 23, 2013)