Zhang Weiping on the Promotional Tactics of "The Flowers of War"

2011-10-24 15:06:27        Chinese Films

Zhang Weiping accepted an interview. [sina.com]

Zhang Weiping, the producer of Zhang Yimou's blockbuster epic war movie, "The Flowers of War," was recently interviewed by sina.com, where he shared his thoughts and the promotional tactics used by the movie's publicity team.

Tactic One: Three trailers to reveal the basics of the movie

Reporter: What do you think about the first trailer?

Zhang: I watched it over 30 times. To be honest, there is no way to comprehensively make people understand the spirit of the film in such a short time, so I told the editor, "First, you can't show any of the 13 female leads' faces. And second, you need to make it artistic."

Reporter: This trailer basically focuses on Christian Bale, why?

Zhang: It took two years for us to sign with Bale. We never thought we could invite an Oscar winning, best supporting actor into the film. But since we were lucky enough to have him, of course he would be our first card in promoting the film. The attention foreign media have paid to the film has far exceeded that of "Hero." All the important American media outlets called to interview me. I felt thrilled by that. So of course, we had to put an emphasis on Bale in our first trailer.

Reporter: The 13 female leads are still a secret. When will you show audiences their faces?

Zhang: A 20 minute teaser was screened at the Toronto Film Festival early this year. It won praise from all foreign distributors and media including the New York Times, CNN and BBC. It was a huge surprise for me. So the 13 female leads of the movie will definitely be our final trump. We have two more trailers coming on the way. The first one is about Bale and the war. In the final trailer, the core of the movie will be unveiled—the salvation of humanity. At that time, you will see their faces.

Tactic Two: Christian Bale performed sexual scenes for the very first time

Reporter: There are a lot of reports that focus on the sexual scenes of Bale. We noticed that there is no such a story in the original novel. Is that a commercial imperative?

Zhang: Actually, Bale baulked at the idea of doing sex scenes. He had never done that before. But these scenes coincided with the development of the story. He refused to play the scenes when we signed the contract. After we began shooting the film, I talked to Zhang Yimou, "You should talk to Bale one more time. We will not use the scenes to sensationalize our film. These are the finishing touches of the character."

Reporter: Did he agree at that time?

Zhang: No, Bale still refused to do that. Yimou talked him for a second time when Bale built a deeper relationship with his character and his co-actress. He finally said yes. I bet lots of his fans are waiting to see the scenes. Bale has made a breakthrough in his acting career.

By Chen Nan

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