Revival ready for release with leaner cast

By Liu Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-13 16:49
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Revival ready for release with leaner cast

Huang Jianxin, co-director of Beginning of the Great Revival, a film to mark the 90th birth anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), says he feels sorry for those, including actress Tang Wei, whose scenes have been cut.

He told a news conference on June 8 that the film would have been too long for theatrical releases if all the scenes had been kept.

He confirms that Tang is one of the 10 actors whose scenes have been cut. The film has a final all-star cast of 108.

"We have so many actors. It is normal for some scenes to be removed to keep a clear storyline," he adds.

Tang, the star of Ang Lee's controversial spy thriller Lust, Caution, is rumored to be blacklisted by the authorities for her nude scenes in the film. She plays Tao Yi, an early girlfriend of Mao Zedong in Revival and showed up at the film's first news conference last year. Huang is the first crew member to confirm that her scenes had been removed.

He says it was a hard decision to make.

"They all worked really hard, so personally I feel sorry for them," he says.

Set in the chaotic 1911-21 period, Revival centers on how the CPC was founded.

The film, to be released on June 15 in China and June 24 in North America, is co-directed by Huang and Han Sanping, chairman of the State-owned China Film Group. The two also directed The Founding of a Republic, a 2009 movie to mark the 60th birth anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

Republic raked in about 400 million yuan ($62 million) with a star-studded cast, which included Andy Lau and Jackie Chan. Huang expects Revival, starring Liu Ye, Chen Kun and Chow Yun-fat, to do better.

"I cannot quote a specific number, but I'm sure this film will earn more than Republic," he says.

In the upcoming months, the big screen will see a burst of 28 patriotic films, including The Road of Exploring on Mao Zedong's youth, Florists, a love story about revolutionary Qu Qiubai and Qian Xuesen, a biopic about scientist Qian Xuesen.

Tong Gang, director of the State Film Bureau, expects the films to gross more than 1 billion yuan, calling it "a conservative estimate".