Par Pick Chinese Thesps 'Transformers 4'

Studio is chasing co-production status for next pic in franchise

BEIJING — Paramount plans to cast the Chinese roles in “Transformers 4” via a local reality TV show, tapping into China’s wild enthusiasm for these skeins and also underlining the studio’s plans to win co-production status for the movie.

The “Transformers 4 Chinese Actor Talent Search” was announced at the Beijing Film Festival on Thursday. The winners will be picked by producers Sid Ganis, former head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, pic’s Lorenzo DiBonaventura, its casting director Denise Chamian and Par’s marketing topper Megan Colligan.

Hollywood studios are chasing official co-production status for their movies in China because it guarantees a mainland release, immunity from blackout periods and a greater revenue share.

However, it is a difficult status to win, and needs to show a lot of Chinese input to be considered.

Ganis is topper of Jiaflix Enterprises, which recently set up a production-assistance deal for “Transformers 4” between Paramount Pictures and state broadcaster CCTV’s China Movie Channel.

The panel will select two winners with professional acting experience and two without, and all will have roles in the next episode of the franchise.

Starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Michael Bay, “Transformers 4” is due in theaters in June 2014.

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