Just in case you happen to be in area of Austin, Texas or China, and not doing much for the next couple of months, Transformers 4 needs willing extras to take part in various scenes. Casting notices have hit the information superhighway with bizarrely specific requirements – agency Third Coast Extras are asking for “adults 18+ and children 9-12 of any ethnicity to work June 3-20” in the Austin area. So if you’re 13 to 17, screw you. Some Chinese members of the cast are to be selected via a specially-designed talent show called “Transformers 4 Chinese Actor Talent Search,” a title perhaps only created to make the Chinese look stupid in any Chinese-to-English translations. Auditions begin in June, and the show will air on CCTV-6.
Those cast through T4CATS (also the name of a feline superhero squad with secret identities as yoof TV presenters) will have speaking roles, and will appear in scenes filmed in China. This is thought to appeal to spend-happy Chinese audiences, who were responsible for $165 million of Transformers: Dark of the Moon‘s profits. Making the film in co-production with a Chinese company, as Paramount is planning on doing in joining forces with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises, means that the film isn’t restricted for Chinese release. As has been repeated ad nauseam on the internet, China only officially sanctions a certain amount of Western movie releases each year – twenty, to be precise.
Although a World Trade Organisation ruling in 2011 forbade them from carrying on the practice, it didn’t have much effect. The current phase of American-Chinese co-productions is a means to an end (more profit) but also could mean a greater understanding between two nations who haven’t always seen eye-to-eye in the past. If only it worked both ways, and Chinese films could get the audiences they deserve in American cinemas.
In other Chinese news, Li Bingbing (Resident Evil: Retribution) has joined the cast. The news was published on m1905.com, a Chinese-language movie portal affiliated with China Movie Channel. It’ll be interesting how Transformers 4 turns out, given Michael Bay’s signature style of “fudging the camera,” and how that will fly with the famously taciturn Chinese censorship board – “fudging” being the family-friendly word there.