‘Red Carpet’ author on China’s growing influence on Hollywood
After Chinese backlash against Liu and Chloe Zhao, Erich Schwartzel says studios may rethink hiring expatriate actors and directors
With Hollywood and the world now focused on Russia and Ukraine, the lucrative and difficult relationship between the American and Chinese film industries isn’t going away anytime soon, nor is the challenge for studios of how to find there.
Wall Street Journal reporter Erich Schwartzel explores the past, present, and future of this relationship in his new book, “Red carpet: Hollywood, China and the global battle for cultural supremacy.In it, he examines China’s rise in the 2010s to become a box office powerhouse so significant that it is capable of influencing creative decision-making for the world’s biggest films.
Of course, a lot has happened since Schwartzel finished his book. Last month, Chinese censors made headlines for demanding a complete removal of the explosive ending to “Fight Club” from a home release in China…a change that was later reversed.
Meanwhile, comments from “Shang-Chi” star Simu Liu and “Eternals” director Chloe Zhao years ago over the struggles of people living in China led to both films being blocked from theatrical release, and the worldwide box office hit “Spider-Man: No Way Home” also got the axe. While recent non-Marvel blockbusters like “The Batman” and “Uncharted” have been approved for release, pressure from Chinese authorities to put more emphasis on local hits like “The Battle at Lake Changjin” has left Hollywood executives try to figure out where their films belong with a Chinese market less dependent on them.
In an interview with TheWrap, Schwartzel discussed his research into China’s influence on Hollywood, his thoughts on recent developments taking place between the two sides, and whether Marvel’s backlash might have a chilling effect on Chinese expats who might have the opportunity to become the next. Chloe Zhao or Simu Liu.