Since director John Woo’s (吳宇森) The Crossing <太平輪> began filming in Beijing in July, rumors have abounded everywhere, but the cast and crew have mostly kept a low profile. Recently, reporters were allowed on set in Shanghai for the first time, where they witnessed the 1:1-scale model of the doomed Taiping steamer, which has been likened to “the Chinese Titanic.”
The Crossing focuses on the story of four females, all of whom come from different backgrounds and have different experiences in love, but who are brought together thanks to the Taiping steamer. A luxury passenger ocean liner, the Taiping went down in history after its shipwreck in 1949. After the Chinese Civil War, many government officials and merchants fled to Taiwan in order to escape Communist rule. When leaving the Shanghai harbor one night, however, the overloaded Taiping, which was traveling without lights, struck a cargo boat and caused nearly 1000 casualties.
In order to accurately portray the immensity of the luxury steamer, the film crew built a 1:1-scale model of the Taiping’s exterior, basing their creation on historical records. They also replicated parts of the interior facilities. A scene in the movie will depict hordes of passengers and refugees crowding the Shanghai harbor, eager to board the ship, all of them tiny and ant-like in comparison to the replica model.
The crew of The Crossing also constructed a pool about half the size of a soccer field in order to film the water scenes. Director John Woo revealed that the idea was a result of his visit to the set of Ang Lee’s (李安) The Life of Pi , which handled water scenes by implementing a 6,750-ton water tank in Taiwan.
The Shanghai backdrop and the Huangpu River, however, will all be added in digitally by Digital Domain, the visual effects team that worked on blockbusters like Titanic, Transformers, and Iron Man 3. The director also shared that The Crossing may be converted to 3D during post-production, explaining that “3D is a pretty good choice when displaying catastrophic scenes.”
The all-star cast, which boasts A-listers like Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武), Huang Xiaoming (黃曉明), and Bowie Lam (林保怡), is currently filming at Shanghai Chedun Film Park, and will head to Taiwan in January. Zhang Ziyi’s character, who was previously reported to be the wife of a military officer, was recently revealed instead to be a weary young woman who catches the eye of a simple and honest soldier played by Tong Dawei (佟大為).
This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.