You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Venice: Top Director Feng Xiaogang to Entertain as Star of Closing Film ‘Mr Six’

Feng Xiaogang, consistently China’s most successful director, has taken on acting roles before, mostly bit parts and secondary characters. But appearing in the title role of Venice festival’s closing film “Mr. Six” was a definite step up.

The film’s director, Guan Hu, and producer, Wang Zhonglei, admit to almost tricking Feng into the role.

Guan and Huayi Brothers Media asked Feng to appraise the script for the company, without revealing that their real motive for showing him the screenplay was to try to get him to buy in as the lead.

Feng says he found himself unable to put it down. “You seldom get to see a story like this… a story about the good old days and values that transcends time and space,” Feng said.

The film is an admittedly old-fashioned tale about a former gang leader, now in his 50s and out of condition, who is forced to rouse himself when his son is kidnapped by a bunch of younger hoodlums. Mr. Six responds by rounding up some of his old gang pals.

The resulting conflict is not so much gang on gang, but old versus new, with an emphasis on taking viewers down memory lane – literally. Much of the picture is set in Beijing’s hutongs or narrow alleyways that typified northern Chinese towns before so many were torn down to make way for more modern, less communal, developments.

The picture is also a vehicle for two generations of Chinese actors to share the screen. Feng lines up with actress Xu Qing, whose range stretched from Chen Kaige’s “Life on a String” to “Looper,” in which she played Bruce Willis’ wife, and Zhang Hanyu. One of China’s best actors, Zhang has appeared in several of Feng’s films and came of age in his “Assembly,” before starring in Guan’s “The Chef, the Actor, the Scoundrel,” and Tsui Hark’s recent smash “The Taking of Tiger Mountain.”

They are ranged against a younger collection of actors including Canadian-Chinese K-pop music idol Kris Wu, Li Yifeng, who parlayed appearances on Chinese TV reality shows into a string of hit sitcom roles, and Liu Hua, who broke out in Ning Hao’s “Crazy Stone” before also adding the recent hit “The Monkey King.”

The action drama is expected to make for an entertaining closer to the Venice festival. In China, the feel-good factor also positions the film as one of the highlights of the box office critical end of the year period. Huayi has booked “Mr. Six” to unwrap on Christmas Eve.

More Film

  • Halloween

    Movies Featured More Female Protagonists in 2018, But It's Not All Good News (Study)

    “Halloween,” “A Star is Born,” and “Crazy Rich Asians” made headlines for featuring strong roles for women, but even though the number of female film protagonists hit a high in 2018, the movie industry still offered its juiciest parts to men. At a time when Hollywood is under pressure to become more inclusive and is [...]

  • Colin Farrell Dumbo

    Colin Farrell To Star in Andrew Haigh's BBC Two Thriller 'The North Water'

    Colin Farrell is set to star in “The North Water,” the BBC Two thriller which will be directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Andrew Haigh (“Lean on Pete”). Based on Ian McGuire’s novel, the four-part series is being adapted by Haigh and produced by See-Saw Films for BBC Two. Set in the U.K. and in the [...]

  • New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to

    New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to Los Angeles Studio Role

    Wayne Borg, who has headed the Fox Studios Australia operations in Sydney for the past four years, has been appointed president and general manager of studios at New Fox. He will relocate from Australia to Los Angeles. Fox Studios Australia, which is to remain part of 21st Century Fox and will become part of Disney [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content