Why Simon West is Making Movies in China (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety | 6/15/2019 | Rebecca Davis
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British director Simon West (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Con Air,” “The Expendables 2”) is set to further into the Middle Kingdom at the helm of his second Chinese action-adventure blockbuster. The Wanda-backed “The Legend Hunters,” hits theaters next summer. West was brought onto the project by veteran producer Eryong, who had approached him about a project in China 12 years ago that later fell through.

“Legend Hunters” follows West’s first foray into the country, the upcoming volcano disaster flick “Skyfire.” West is currently in early stage discussions about two or three other potential Chinese projects that range from sci-fi to period pieces to his speciality, action-adventure, and says he’s in the midst of “negotiating the rights to some very big Chinese IP. West spoke to Variety about the differences between working in Hollywood and China and his thoughts on the future of co-productions.”

Variety - Films

Variety: Why are you directing so many films abroad?

Simon West: “It’s just coincidence really. I did ‘Skyfire’ and I didn’t necessarily think I’d be going on to another one, but of course one leads to another. I think there’s going to be a much bigger connection now between me and China because once you’ve been here, worked here and met people, you feel comfortable with them and start dialoging. Before you know it, you’re doing a lot of stuff here. [Plus] China is a huge market now: You can have something that’s pretty successful in the States, but it’ll do twice as well here. The energy is redirecting towards China in the film business.”

Co-productions

Do you still believe in traditional US-China co-productions?

“There’s a danger that if you come over with too many people, you get this weird mismatch that’s happened in the past. You don’t do either side well: it’s not a Hollywood production and it’s not a Chinese production....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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