EXCLUSIVE: Emile Hirsch’s exploits in China will finally be seen around the world after international sales agent VMI Worldwide picked up global rights to Chinese period war drama The Chinese Widow.
The company, fresh off the back of a deal with Nic Cage’s action thriller The Humanity Bureau will launch the Bille August-directed drama at the EFM in Berlin, which kicks off today.
Hirsch stars as commander Jack Turner in the film, which is set in 1941 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that has destroyed America’s morale. After U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt decides to risk it all by bombing Tokyo and a unit of the Air Force completes its mission, the crew are forced to make an emergency landing in China. Turner barely survives but becomes rescued by Ying, a local widow, who will stop at nothing to hide him from the Japanese occupant. The local widow, a young silk weaver, is played by famous Chinese actress Yifei Liu, who has been cast as the lead in Disney’s forthcoming live-action remake of Mulan.
The film, which is produced by Peng Sun and Catherine Lin for Zhejiang Roc Pictures, is one of the most international films ever produced in China with a U.S. lead, a Danish director in The Best Intentions director August, a South African screenwriter in Greg Latter, German composer Annette Focks and a Swiss cinematographer Filip Zum.
It premiered in China at the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2017 and was released in November, days after Donald Trump finished his three-day visit to the country.
The deal was concluded by VMI Worldwide CEO Andre Relis, Director of Acquisitions Jessica Bennett and Peng Sun from Zhejiang Roc Pictures, translated by Kathleen I-Ying Lee. VMI Worldwide holds all rights outside of China and JD Beaufils and Julie Paquit will be actively selling the picture in Berlin.
Relis told Deadline: “We are pleased to announce The Chinese Widow to the international marketplace in Berlin, Yifei Liu aka Crystal Liu and Emile Hirsh give superb performances in this breath-taking WWII picture by two time Cannes Palme D’Or winner Bille August.”