Action resumes after golden summer

08:29, December 15, 2009      

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China's most famous film director, Zhang Yimou, has finished stunning the world - now he wants only to delight it.

The man behind the sensational opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics knows he will probably never make as many jaws hit the floor as he did last summer. But his latest project is special in a different way - managing to combine "funny with frightening".

"The Olympics was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he said. "I am now an ordinary film director again. I don't want to give myself too much pressure."

But despite wanting to take a step back, Zhang has managed to deliver another blockbuster. His remake of the Coen brothers' 1984 crime thriller Blood Simple premiered last Friday and has already earned 101 million yuan ($14.8 million).

The film, which has been renamed A Simple Noodle Story (Sanqiang Pai'an Jingqi), is a departure for Zhang, offering him his first foray into the world of slapstick.

Some of China's most beloved comedians threw their weight behind the project, including Zhao Benshan and Xiaoshenyang, making the film hilarious in places.

But Zhang's remake still hangs onto the old Coen-style suspense, black comedy and thriller elements that made the original a cult classic.

Zhang is not interested in talking about whether or not his version is better than the original - he just hopes audiences will laugh at the slapstick and gasp at the suspense.

And he conceded that whatever he does from now on, his name for many will always be synonymous with the Beijing Olympics.

"My responsibility then was to find a unique way to present to the world a new, modern and fashionable China that was quickly changing.

"Now, I have maintained my excitement, joy and passion and directed those feelings toward something I have never done before - the Noodle film."

As the Chinese mainland's most successful film director in the United States - his film Hero earned $53 million in 2004 - he knows how to make a Hollywood blockbuster, but he says A Simple Noodle Story was made for the Chinese market because the US film industry is not his priority.

"I don't want to be on that boat," he said. "Many Hollywood producers wanted to work with me, especially after Hero, but I have said no, I do not want to be a third-rate director there when I can make better movies at home."

Source: China Daily
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