Johnny Depp on China: 'I Could Live Here Easily'
In his first trip to China, actor Johnny Depp said Monday he'd be willing to consider a move to the Middle Kingdom, citing the overwhelmingly warm reception from his fans.
Dozens of them swarmed a Beijing hotel Monday for a glimpse of the star armed with 'We love you Johnny Depp' signs as Mr. Depp arrived to drum up hype for his upcoming sci-fi thriller 'Transcendence . '
Among them were fans like Cai Kexin, 21, who traveled 16 hours by train from eastern coastal Zhejiang province just to be in the same room with the star. 'I cried when I found out he was getting engaged; I had to be here,' said Ms. Cai, adding that she skipped class to be in Beijing with Mr. Depp. She and many others were delighted when Mr. Depp showed off a tattoo on his arm inspired by the I Ching, a Chinese classical text.
Mr. Depp said that while Hollywood has much to share with China, including its special effects and sci-fi expertise, American films can take lessons from China as well. 'The level of art, the eons of culture...I most assuredly believe that we can learn a lot from China,' Mr. Depp said in reply to a question from China Real Time about Hollywood's attempts to appeal to the Chinese market.
'I could live here easily,' he said, adding, 'It's a warm experience.'
Mr. Depp's China arrival comes as Hollywood is attempting to regain ground in the world's second-largest film market, where it's been losing market share. Up until 2012, Hollywood had the stronghold on the market, with 51% of total box office receipts. But last year that changed, with China's domestic films surging ahead to take in 12.7 billion yuan, or about 59% of total box-office receipts, according to consulting firm Artisan Gateway.
The star of movies including the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' trilogy, Mr. Depp--who plays a terminally ill scientist in 'Transcendence'--is just the latest of Hollywood stars to fly to China to promote their films in person. Chris Evans, the lead actor in the upcoming film 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier,' and Andrew Garfield, the star of 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2,' both stopped in Beijing last week on promotional tours.
Like Mr. Depp, other Hollywood stars who've lately made appearances in Beijing have also been keen to stress their affection for China. When Robert Downey Jr. visited last year for the opening of 'Iron Man 3,' he attempted to bond with Chinese audiences by noting that he practices Chinese traditional medicine and has his own Chinese doctor.
During the press briefing, the 51 year-old Mr. Depp entertained a gamut of questions from the Chinese media, ranging from 'How do you maintain your acting skills?' to 'Would you consider designing underwear?' (Mr. Depp said he hadn't previously considered underwear design, but that he thought he 'could do a good job.' He said he thought he'd be particularly skilled at designing women's shoes.)
Producers of 'Transcendence' are hoping the film's futuristic storyline, in which a scientist tries to create a machine with human emotions and intelligence, will resonate with Chinese audiences. 'It's totally conceivable that the next breakthroughs in artificial intelligence will come from China, so the story has a strong appeal and pull for Chinese audiences,' said Dan Mintz, chief executive of Beijing-based DMG Entertainment, which financed and produced the film with Alcon Entertainment in Los Angeles. <纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/>
The company is hoping to surpass their previous success with 'Iron Man 3,' a co-production with Walt Disney Co. that became China's second highest-grossing film last year, with 755.2 million yuan ($121.6 million) in box-office sales. To target the Chinese market, they're planning a 3-D version of 'Transcendence' to be exclusively released in China, as well as a synced debut with the U.S. on April 18--a rare move , given high levels of concern about piracy among studios. DVDs made from in-theater videos frequently circulate the Chinese market and result in ticket losses.
A spokesman for DMG said the company was well aware of Mr. Depp's popularity in China, where 'Pirates of the Caribbean' was an audience favorite and where Disney Co. plans to open a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ride at its new Disneyland in Shanghai. Mr. Depp said he'd be more than willing to return for the opening of the 'Pirates' attraction.
While Chinese fans like Ms. Cai have seen all of Mr. Depp's works, Mr. Depp said he avoids watching any of his movies and reading anything about himself. 'I stopped that a long time ago,' he said, noting that he also steers clear of other most cinema. 'I prefer to remain ignorant,' he said.
曾主演《加勒比海盗》(Pirates of the Caribbean)三部曲等大片的德普此次在《超验黑客》中扮演一位病入膏肓的科学家。他也是最新一位亲身上阵前往中国宣传影片的好莱坞明星。《美国队长2：冬日战士》(Captain America: The Winter Soldier)的主演克里斯·埃文斯(Chris Evans)和《超凡蜘蛛侠2》(The Amazing Spider-Man 2)的主演安德鲁·加菲尔德(Andrew Garfield)上周都在北京进行了宣传活动。
与德普一样，最近在北京露面的其他好莱坞明星也热情地展示了他们对中国的喜爱之情。小罗伯特·唐尼(Robert Downey Jr.)去年来到中国出席《钢铁侠3》(Iron Man 3)的首映式时，他说自己吃中药，还有自己的中国医生，以此与中国观众拉近关系。
《超验黑客》讲述了一位科学家试图制造一部拥有人类情感和智慧的机器，制片方希望故事中的未来元素能够引起中国观众共鸣。中国DMG印记娱乐传媒集团(DMG Entertainment)的首席执行长明茨(Dan Mintz)说，完全可以想像在人工智能研究方面取得下一步突破的将是中国，因此《超验黑客》将强烈吸引并博得中国观众的喜爱。DMG与美国艾肯娱乐(Alcon Entertainment)共同出资制作了这部影片。
DMG希望《超验黑客》能够超越此前它与华特-迪士尼公司(Walt Disney Co., DIS)联合出品的《钢铁侠3》。《钢铁侠3》大获成功，以人民币7.552亿元（合1.216亿美元）的票房收入成为去年中国票房第二高的影片。为了吸引中国观众，DMG准备在中国市场特别推出3D版《超验黑客》，而且4月18日影片会在美国和中国院线同步首映，这是罕见之举，因为电影制片商对盗版问题通常存在很深忧虑。往往新片一上映，中国市场就会出现在影院偷拍后翻录的枪版DVD，给影片票房造成损失。