Home / Entertainment / Why British director Simon West makes films in China – Variety

Why British director Simon West makes films in China – Variety

British director Simon West ("Lara Croft: Tomb Raider", "Con Air", "The Expendables 2") is expected to plunge further into the middle empire at the helm of his second Chinese action and adventure blockbuster . "The Legend Hunters", supported by Wanda, will be released in theaters next summer. The veteran producer Eryong, who had been approached by him, told him about a project in China 12 years ago that failed afterwards.

"Legend Hunters" follows West's first foray into the country, the next film about the "Skyfire" volcano disaster. He is currently discussing two or three other potential Chinese projects ranging from science fiction to period pieces and his specialty. -adventure, and says that he is in the process of "negotiating the rights of a very large Chinese intellectual property". Variety on the differences between working in Hollywood and China and his thoughts on the future of co-productions.

Why do you film so many films abroad?

It's just a coincidence, really. I did "Skyfire" and I did not necessarily think that I would switch to another, but of course, one thing brings another. I think there is going to be a much bigger bond now between China and myself, because once you've been here, you've worked here and met people, you feel comfortable with them and start talking. Before you know it, you do a lot of things here. China is a huge market now; you can have something that is pretty successful in the US, but it will be twice as good here. The energy redirects to China in the film sector. "

Do you still believe in traditional US-Chinese co-productions?

If you come with too many people, you may end up with this strange shift that has occurred in the past. You do not do well either side: it's not a Hollywood production or a Chinese production. If you just make an American film and want China to be a place, it's one thing, but if you want a real co-production that works in China, I think it takes a lot of Chinese talent to give it. cultural realism. There are many subtle cultural differences, and China is a matter of subtlety.

What are they? What does the Chinese public want to be different from the Americans?

It's a quick response to what the global audience wants – it's not that different, but you have to fix those small differences. It's about how people interact: how a parent talks to a child, how a romantic couple talks, what they would do or would not want. Etiquette, sense of humor. You can really lose people if you make some stupid mistakes.

In the past, I think Chinese films have not been so strict about logic and plot. Westerners are obsessed with the way each plot needs to be inserted into the story, which can often make the movies a bit boring because they become so mathematically correct that you can lose some of the emotion and emotion. of excitement. From what I've seen, Chinese movies are far more emotionally sensitive – "Do I like these people and is it fun?" – rather than "does everything make sense?" [in the West] watch a movie.

What is the difference between American cinema in the United States and China?

In more than 100 years of filmmaking, Hollywood has reduced the organizational part to a science. It's like building cars, that very mechanical system that they're attached to, almost like a computer program. It's a good and a bad thing. You get stereotyped movies recently shot in Hollywood, which are very effective, that seem to agree but do not really affect you. [Then] you get movies where, with a little more preparation and organization, the artist who produced them would have had more freedom and space to tell a story instead of trying to solve practical problems all the time. [I find] the predictable setting makes the artistic side very easy, because you get the security out of it: I know how many days I have, how much money I can spend, how long it will take. In fact, you feel safer than being surrounded.

There are obviously some great filmmakers in China, but if it's going to be an industry like Hollywood, it has to have its production formula in place. I think it can come from the top down. The old studio system … is a bit like a surveillance by an adult. Sometimes it can be oppressive, or interfere with creation in certain ways, but it also prevents filmmakers from getting bored until it's too late.

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