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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Weekend
'Wolf Warrior II' Star Frank Grillo on How the chinese Blockbuster Was Made
    2017-August-25  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

AS Hollywood remains mired in a downturn at the North American box office, Chinese action movie “Wolf Warrior II” has firmly established itself as the blockbuster phenomenon of the summer.

With a budget of just US$30 million, the film opened in China on July 27 and has earned an astonishing US$780 million since. That makes it both China’s highest-grossing film ever and the second-biggest movie of all time in a single market, with only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” having earned more from one territory (US$936.7 million, North America).

Written by, directed by and starring Chinese martial artist Wu Jing, the film follows a former Chinese special-forces operative as he battles bloodthirsty Western mercenaries to protect Chinese civilians caught up in an African civil war.

Insiders point to two intertwined factors behind the film’s profound resonance with the Chinese audience: Hollywood-caliber action coupled with a story about unrestrained pride in Chinese national identity.

The heavy dose of Hollywood came courtesy of Marvel mainstays Joe and Anthony Russo (co-directors of the “Captain America” franchise), who consulted on the project via their Chinese studio venture Anthem & Song, which has a strategic partnership with Beijing Culture Media, the film’s lead local producer. The Russos arranged for their usual stunt team, led by veteran stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave (“The Avengers,” “Suicide Squad,” “The Hunger Games”), to join the project and elevate its action. They also introduced the American actor who would play the film’s villain, Frank Grillo.

Grillo is a familiar face in Hollywood action projects, having played key parts in films like “Warrior” (2011), “The Grey” (2011) and the “Purgefranchise” (2014-2016), as well as the villain Brock Rumlow/Crossbones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But his starring role in “Wolf Warrior II” will probably come to be viewed as his biggest break to date.

Grillo plays the ruthless American mercenary Big Daddy, who faces off against Wu in a final fight scene that even the film’s detractors have tended to praise as simply eye-popping.

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) gave Grillo a call this week to ask him what it was like working on China’s biggest movie ever.

THR: How did you originally get involved in this film?

Grillo: Joe Russo had thrown my name in the hat, and they responded and came to me with this offer. And frankly, I was intrigued because it was Chinese. Everyone in Hollywood is trying to get into the Chinese market, or has tried and failed, or is already in co-productions. I think this is good business.

THR: What were your expectations and what’s your reaction to the phenomenon it’s become?

Grillo: I had very low expectations. I had seen the first film, and I thought it was cool in terms of the Chinese cinema I had seen. I just thought, if it’s a solid success again in China, that will be great. And then this explosion happened. So to say that Wu Jing has his thumb on the pulse of what the Chinese people need cinematically is a gross understatement. I’m blown away by it all.

THR: What’s your take on why the Chinese have embraced this movie so strongly?

Grillo: Not to be a jerky overblown actor guy, but I think it goes back to what we do as storytellers — how we continue legacies and pass on our history through storytelling. I think Wu Jing was aware of what he was doing; it’s no accident.

There’s a consciousness that has been developing in China. People say this movie is nationalistic and it’s propaganda — and in a sense, it is. But this pride in China is real, and the audience wants to believe that being Chinese means something special.

Wu Jing has touched upon something that the world needs to take note of and say, “Wow, this is interesting; this is something important.”

THR: “Wolf Warrior II” is perhaps the first Chinese action flick with Hollywood-level production values — and it has outperformed any Hollywood movie ever there. Should U.S. studios be worried about their competitive edge?

Grillo: Yeah, I do think they should be concerned. If Chinese studios hire the right experienced people — which their market can support now — Chinese action movies can compete head-to-head with Hollywood at the local box office. This movie shows that.

What should really worry Hollywood is when the next iteration of Chinese films starts showing signs of crossing over. When directors like Joe Russo, who understand story from a very global perspective, start working more and more with Chinese filmmakers, you’ll start seeing Chinese films that connect with audiences all over Asia, Europe and South America — maybe even North America.

That’s what will break China out of the home market and make them a big threat to Hollywood’s dominance.

THR: What can you tell us about Wu?

Grillo: I think he’s the next Jackie Chan. He can do anything physical. He’s charming, handsome and smart. He understands filmmaking. He’s open, collaborative and fun to work with. I think this guy is the next global megastar.

(SD-Agencies)

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