Renny Harlin Talks LEGEND OF THE ANCIENT SWORD, Production And More

Photo: The Hollywood Reporter
Skiptrace helmer Renny Harlin is already underway in China with his latest film, Legend Of The Ancient Sword, following its SIFF 2016 announcement back in June. The film is inspired by Gamebar's popular 2010 3D role-playing game, developed by Shanghai Aurogon with a plot that centers on a young boy who survives a village massacre and is taught the mystical ways of the sword, thus meeting new allies on his journey toward vengeance, and the possible reunion with his mother.

Alibaba Pictures Group is behind financing and production of the film which Harlin described at the time as a "big, epic fantasy adventure" with the goal of integrating both work spaces of Hollywood and China to help bolster action, VFX and production value in general. With cameras now rolling and official casting announcments to begin in due time, it's only now that onlookers and readers of the press are getting a small view of filmmaking life for Harlin who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, following an in-depth analysis of what he's observed in adapting to life in China, as well as the cultural differences between life in China and the U.S.:
For Legend of the Ancient Sword, the project I'm currently working on with Alibaba, we're going full speed ahead and we'll be shooting seven days a week until Chinese New Year in February. This is the Chinese system — no day off, and no overtime pay — because they pay crew a monthly salary and they work as much as they can. It's grueling, but that's how it's done. If you're in their system, you have to accept the challenge and always be gracious. 
I've heard these stories about big U.S.-China co-productions that have had really high-class catering by Beijing standards, but still the Hollywood crew will be like, "we're not going to eat this crap." Whereas the Chinese crew are, like, "we've never had such luxurious food on any production!" That kind of thing can really erode the sense of collaboration and teamwork.
Much of the interview delves into what led Harlin to expand his Midnight Sun banner through Beijing, his take on China's box office prospects and the likelihood of other Westerners relocating as he as, in addition to the challenges of filmmaking in China, and more. Apart from that, we'll see what happens and what rolls out in casting and other production news from now through the film's wrap in the next three months.


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