Batman thesp attached to star in Zhang Yimou pic

Christian Bale is attached to star in Zhang Yimou’s “Nanjing Heroes.”

Based on the tome “The 13 Women on Nanjing” by Yan Geling, pic is set during the 1937 Nanjing massacre, when 150,000 civilians were killed by Japanese troops. Story revolves around 13 young prostitutes who help save compatriots from Japanese troops rampaging Nanjing.

Bale will play an American priest who helps a number of Chinese escape death.

Pic is going into production early next year with a release set for next December. It will use a mix of English and Chinese subtitles and is budgeted at around $90 million.

The film is one of many recent projects related to the massacre. Zhang, who made the Bale announcement at a press conference, said he hoped to bring a fresh approach to the story.

Doing the film this way could perhaps allow 100 million-200 million young filmgoers to learn about “what happened in Nanjing in 1937,” Zhang said.

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