John Woo hasn’t directed a film in four years, but that all changed yesterday when production started on The Crossing. Set in 1949 during the ravages of the Chinese revolution, the film will follow three couples from varying socio-economic backgrounds as they slowly make their way to a ship that will make the crossing of the title, in search of a better life.
His last film was the $80 million dollar two-parter Red Cliff, a historical epic based on the Battle of Red Cliffs, which occurred at the end of the Han Dynasty, immediately prior to the three kingdoms period. It took $248 million at the box office, so John Woo can basically do as he pleases at this point.
The Crossing has a budget of $40 million, will also be released in two parts, and is backed by steadily growing Chinese studio Beijing Galloping Horse, along with China Film Group and Zhejiang Huace Film & TV, with production by Woo and Terence Chang’s Lion Rock Productions.
They’re still to cast the foreign actors at this point but they’ve gathered a veritable who’s-who of stars from the world of Asian cinema including Tong Dawei (Flowers of War, Red Cliff Part II), Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers, Memoirs of a Geisha), Huang Xiaoming, Song Hye-kyo, Takeshi Kaneshiro (House of Flying Daggers, Red Cliff) and Masami Nagasawa (From Up on Poppy Hill).
The poster, released online, is shown below:
Whether or not The Crossing will carry on John Woo’s current theme of historical epicosity is not known but it’s interesting that the story involves people fleeing China as the revolution is going on. Maybe it signifies a change in official popular attitudes towards the Cultural Revolution as generations pass – a social change that can only be spurred along by the emergence of a new John Woo film, like that time in the nineties when we all bought doves and handguns.