Date
19 September 2017
Chinese film director Ye Daying said the heavy use of young actors in The Founding of an Army is an attempt to degrade the solemnity of the revolution and its historical significance. Photo: YouTube
Chinese film director Ye Daying said the heavy use of young actors in The Founding of an Army is an attempt to degrade the solemnity of the revolution and its historical significance. Photo: YouTube

Mainland director slams ‘wrong’ casting in propaganda film

A Chinese movie director has hit out at Hong Kong-based filmmaker Andrew Lau Wai-keung for using a young pop idol to portray his grandfather, the famous military leader Ye Ting, in The Founding of an Army, a historical propaganda production to mark the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army.

Ye Daying, grandson of the revolutionary leader, said the heavy use of young actors in the movie is an attempt to degrade the solemnity of the revolution and its historical significance, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Ye posted seven feeds on his Weibo page on Tuesday and Wednesday from Paris, questioning whether Lau had any ill intentions in his use of young actors.

He was particularly critical of the choice of 24-year-old actor Ou Hao to portray his grandfather, saying he is simply too “girly” to play the role of Ye Ting, who had a tough appearance and personality.

Ou is a mainland pop idol who started his show-business career by winning a singing contest in 2013. 

Reacting to Ye’s remarks, Ou’s fans also took to social media to defend their idol, but Ye clarified that he was not personally attacking Ou.

He said he was only concerned with the growing trend of using “young, weak and girly” male actors in Chinese cinema.

Ye also questioned why a Hong Kong director had been chosen for such an important production. “Does he specialize in the history of the revolution? Did his previous works show any sentiment regarding this topic?”

The mainland film director also said he was displeased that no one from the production crew had ever contacted his family to obtain their consent on how Ye Ting would be portrayed in the movie.

Under existing regulations, screenplays involving revolutionary heroes must be vetted by both the authorities and the family members of the people concerned.

Reacting to Ye’s criticisms, Lau said in a Weibo post that the choice of young actors was merely to reflect the age of the movie characters at the time.

The movie crew also posted on social media that they would welcome Ye to share his views after he has watched the movie, which premiered on Thursday nationwide.

Meanwhile, the producers, in promoting the movie, described it as “the Chinese version of Marvel’s cinematic universe”, and the main characters as “Captain China Ye Ting” and “Wolverine Su Yu”.

The film was also touted as much better than Hong Kong’s blockbuster crime thriller Internal Affairs.

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