Eva Jin’s “Sophie’s Revenge,” released in 2009, was the first female-helmed movie to cross the crucial 100 million yuan ($15.45 million) threshold in China and she is working on two projects, one in English and one in Chinese.
“It looks more like the psychological thriller will be made first, because that’s a Chinese-language movie,” says the Beijing-based helmer. “We hope to start shooting by the end of this year.”
The second project is an original romantic comedy with Paramount Pictures for her to direct. It will take place 90% in Beijing, with the other 10% set in New York.
Jin, 37, who earned her MFA at Florida State U., says in China “there seems to be more female directors. Maybe this is because there are more art movies than commercial movies, and when you make a lot of dramas, some people think women can do it better.”
Jin feels “Sophie’s Revenge” opened up the marketplace for romantic comedies, where previously the focus seemed to be on costume dramas and battle epics.
“When we were about to start shooting, a lot of people thought the budget was a little high,” she says. “No romantic comedies made money, it’s a risk, it was all period pieces and martial arts.
“We also put a lot of animation in there, and now lots of movies are doing that too.”
Another important achievement was to broaden the achievements of Ziyi Zhang (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), giving her an opportunity to excel at comedy whereas before she was known mostly for her martial arts roles.
“It changed how people saw her.”
Role model: “Ang Lee or John Woo. Maybe I should say a woman, but they grew up in Asia and made English movies in the U.S.”
Career mantra: “The best way to capture an audience’s heart is to capture its eyes first. That’s my goal. I like strong visuals.”
Leisure pursuits: “Diving is my hobby, mostly in South Asia. Diving is perfect for artists or filmmakers as you can dive into a different world full of colors and life.”
Philanthropic passion: Jet Li’s One Foundation, which supports underprivileged children in China.