Hollywood producer Mike Medovoy at a press conference for "The Cursed Piano" in Shanghai on Monday.[Photo/China.org]
Shanghai Film Group and Hollywood production company Phoenix Pictures signed an agreement on June 13 to co-produce a movie about the life of Jews who escaped from Europe to Shanghai during World War II.
"The Cursed Piano," to be adapted from the popular novel of the same name by Shanghai writer Bei La, has been developed by the two sides over last year. "It is our responsibility to present Shanghai stories and Chinese people's life to the world," said Ren Zhonglun, president of Shanghai Film Group. "This time, we will collaborate with a world top production team."
During World War II, Shanghai provided refuge to more than 20,000 Jewish refugees from Europe, including the parents of co-producer Mike Medavoy from Phoenix Pictures. Medavoy, 70, was born in Shanghai and lived here for six years before moving to Chile and then to the U.S. "I feel a great deal of responsibility to get this story told," Medavoy said.
"My fear of course is based on the fact that I have to measure up not only to the standards that these gentlemen [Chinese co-producers] have set for the project," he said. "But I also have to measure up to my own standards and the standards my parents brought to me when they decided to have me born here."
Medavoy has produced more than 300 movies during his 40-plus-years career, including seven that won the Academy Award for Best Picture: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Rocky," "Apocalypse Now," "Platoon," "Dances with Wolves," "Shutter Island" and "Black Swan."
Chinese writer Bei La at a press conference for "The Cursed Piano" in Shanghai on Monday.[Photo/Chian.org]
He vowed to put together a creative team, train young local filmmakers and offer them opportunities to learn about filmmaking.
Asked about the film's release prospect in the U.S., Medavoy admitted that Americans are "less interested" in the stories of Jews in Shanghai because they know little about this. But he said his goal is "to make a great film" to attract moviegoers.
American screenwriter Nicholas Meyer, whose works include "The Human Stain," "The Prince of Egypt" and "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution," will pen the screen script.
In addition, a six-hour miniseries, "Tears of the Sparrow," will be made in parallel, sharing the same drama elements and characters with the movie.