China channel pumps up ‘Cliff’

CCTV to broadcast footage from Woo film

BEIJING — The movie channel of Chinese state broadcaster CCTV will broadcast 2½ hours of live footage from the set of John Woo’s latest pic, “Red Cliff,” which is shooting near Beijing.

China Film, one of the investors in what is the most expensive Asian movie of all time with a budget of $80 million, told the Beijing Times that CCTV’s movie channel would show the “real-time film sequence” on Nov. 17 and pic’s stars would be present on that day.

Funding for “Red Cliff” comes entirely from independent producers in the region — China Film, CMC Entertainment in Taiwan, Avex in Japan and South Korea’s Showbox.

Shooting began in April, and the pic marks a return to Chinese-language movies for Woo. Shooting in China has been dogged by bad weather, and the project has had to overcome some serious casting changes, with longtime Woo collaborator Chow Yun-fat dropping out and Tony Leung leaving and then returning to the production.

Other Asian stars taking part in the pic include Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chiling Lin, Chang Chen, Vicky Zhao and Hu Jun. All will feature in the live broadcast, the report said.

“Red Cliff” is based on a segment of the sprawling classic Chinese novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” and is set in the final days of the Han Dynasty, in the year 208, covering the war that established the Three Kingdoms period, when China had three rulers.

Film experts and historians will be on hand to explain certain cinema techniques and the historical background to the story, and the live broadcast will incorporate 20 documentary films to help educate auds, it said.

The production is moving to Yixian Reservoir in Hebei to shoot the climax of the movie, and the Movie Channel will broadcast a number of sequences of the shooting, promising “multi-angle and 3-D live broadcast, revolving around the working scenes.”

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