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The Monkey King's monk

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-12-17 08:51:51

The Monkey King's monk

The biopic Xuan Zang, starring Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming, retraces a Tang Dynasty monk's pilgrimage to India. Huang, a Buddhist, says the film shoot was the toughest in his 15-year career.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Huang, who's a Buddhist, canceled another contract to accept the role because of his strong interest in the legendary master.

While struggling in a shooting environment frequently blasted by sand storms, Huang studied Sanskrit to recite some sacred scriptures.

Director Huo says: "Buddhism is something that gives the ordinary people peace and tranquility. It's gentle and soft."

A couple of hundred Indian extras and several top local actors were recruited for the big-budget movie, which was mostly financed by the industry giant, China Film Group.

"Most Chinese viewers of my generation have a stereotyped impression of Indian actors, as they showcase somewhat exaggerated performances in Bollywood musical features," Huo says.

"But I found that's totally wrong. They can be terrific performers who convey convincing emotion and gestures."

China and India signed an agreement on coproducing films last September. Xuan Zang was listed as one of the three highlighted projects earlier this year, according to the country's top film regulator.

The other two are Kung Fu Yoga, starring Jackie Chan, and a comedy Danao Tianzhu (An Adventure to India), led by Wang Baoqiang.

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