Christian Bale is set to star in a new film being directed by Chinese director Zhang Yimou based on the true story of the Nanjing Massacre.
According to , he movie has been given a $90.2 million dollar budget, which is big for China. Yimou is best known for directing films such as House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower and the 2008 Beijing Olympic games opening ceremony.
The Nanjing Massacre involved Japanese troops killing thousands of Chinese citizens in what was then the nation’s capital in 1937. Bale will play a priest in the film named John who helps save the lives of a great deal of Chinese individuals.
Zhang will be bringing in the same Hollywood effects team behind Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Night. THR reports that “Zhang and his longtime producer Zhang Weiping (no relation) of the New Picture Film Company announced Bale’s casting and the hiring of Joss Williams and Martin Asbury‘s Dark Side FX.”
The new film is based on a short story by Chinese author Yan Geling called 13 Prostitutes of Jinling, using the old name for Nanjing, now the capital of Jiangsu province on China’s east coast. The script for the film was adapted by Yan and Liu Heng, who wrote the novel for Zhang’s early hit film Ju Dou.
The plan is to start shooting the movie on January 10th 2011 in a Republican Era (1911-1949) replica church built near Nanjing.
Zhang is a great visual storyteller, and Bale is an incredible actor that will no doubt do a fantastic job in this role. The subject matter of the story is very heavy, but it will make for a very powerful film.
Here is the description of the massacre from Wikipedia:
The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing (Nanking), the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. During this period, hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers were murdered and 20,000–80,000 women were raped by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.
The massacre remains a contentious political issue, as various aspects of it have been disputed by some historical revisionists and Japanese nationalists, who have claimed that the massacre has been either exaggerated or wholly fabricated for propaganda purposes. As a result of the nationalist efforts to deny or rationalize the war crimes, the controversy created surrounding the massacre remains a stumbling block in Sino-Japanese relations, as well as Japanese relations with other Asia-Pacific nations such as South Korea and the Philippines.
An accurate estimation of the death toll in the massacre is never achieved because most of the Japanese military records on the killings were deliberately destroyed or kept secret shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945. The International Military Tribunal of the Far East estimates more than 200,000 casualties in the incident; China’s official estimate is about 300,000 casualties, based on the evaluation of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. Estimates from Japanese historians vary widely, in the vicinity of 40,000–200,000. Some Japanese scholars even deny that a widespread, systematic massacre occurred at all, claiming that any deaths were either justified militarily, accidental or isolated incidents of unauthorized atrocities. These negationists claim that the characterization of the incident as a large-scale, systematic massacre was fabricated for the purpose of political propaganda.
Although the Japanese government has admitted the acts of the killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other violence committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after the fall of Nanking, some Japanese officials have argued that the death toll was military in nature and that no such crimes ever occurred. Denial of the massacre (and a divergent array of revisionist accounts of the killings) has become a staple of Japanese nationalism. In Japan, public opinion of the massacres varies, and few deny the occurrence of the massacre outright. Nonetheless, recurring attempts by negationists to promote a revisionist history of the incident have created controversy that periodically reverberates in the international media, particularly in China, South Korea, and other East Asian nations.
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