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A 20 foot-tall Optimus Prime figure is surrounded by journalists before the world premiere of Hollywood movie Transformers 4 in Hong Kong on June 19. Hollywood director Michael Bay’s latest film, ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’, was partly filmed in Hong Kong. (AFP)
‘Transformers 4’ premieres in HK China to spend $163 mln a year to support movie industry

HONG KONG, June 20, (Agencies): Mark Wahlberg and the cast of the latest “Transformers” instalment brought Hollywood glamour to Hong Kong Thursday for the world premiere of the sci-fi movie which was partly shot in the city.
Wahlberg, accompanied by co-stars Stanley Tucci and Nicola Peltz, said Hong Kong played a crucial role in “Transformers: Age of Extinction”.
“Hong Kong is basically another character in the film and it was an honour to work here,” the 43-year-old star said on the red carpet at the harbourside Cultural Centre.
“It’s just bigger and better,” Wahlberg said of the new film as excited fans screamed at the sight of him.
Director Michael Bay, known for his trademark blockbuster mayhem, said Hong Kong looked none the worse for the destruction wrought on its famous skyline in his movie. “It was a great city to shoot in, I didn’t hurt it too much,” Bay joked.


“We totally destroyed that, we destroyed that, we hurt the Bank of China a little bit,” he said, pointing at the buildings that were damaged in the film.
But there was drama during the production in the city when two men confronted and attacked Bay, claiming they were owed HK$100,000 ($12,900) compensation for filming in the area.
A Hong Kong man was sentenced to more than two years in jail in February for assaulting and attempting to blackmail the “Armageddon” director.
The movie does not feature Shia LaBeouf, star of the three previous “Transformers” movies but that did not bother the hundreds of fans gathered to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood stars, watched over by a six-metre (20-foot) tall replica of Optimus Prime, the leader of the benevolent Autobots.
“Definitely Mark! Hi Mark, I love you,” Khristin Cadasaan from Manila, who was ecstatic after seeing Wahlberg on the red carpet, told AFP when asked which leading man she preferred to see in the series.
“It’s exciting because he’s one of my favourite Hollywood actors,” she added.


Movie website editor Cyrus Wong attended the premiere to see Bay, one of his favourite directors.
“Nobody can top his ability to make grand-scaled films... From when I was young until I was older his films have made a very big impression on me,” Wong, 28, said, while wearing a Transformers T-shirt.
After the attack in October last year, Bay wrote on his website: “Every vendor where we shot got paid a fair price for our inconvenience, but he wanted four times that amount. I personally told this man and his friends to forget it we were not going to let him extort us.”
“He didn’t like that answer. So an hour later he came by my crew as we were shooting, carrying a long air conditioner unit. He walked right up to me and tried to smack my face.
“But I ducked, threw the air unit on the floor and pushed him away. That’s when the security jumped on him. But it took seven big guys to subdue him. It was like a zombie in Brad Pitt’s movie ‘World War Z’ — he lifted seven guys up and tried to bite them.”
The movie opens on June 27 in the United States.


Also:
BEIJING: The Chinese government will spend 1 billion yuan ($163 million) a year to support the domestic movie industry, including producing films and funding the construction of digital cinemas, state media said on Thursday.
The money will go to help produce five to 10 films a year and build the cinemas mostly in the poorer centre and west of the country, the official Xinhua news agency said.
“The cultural development fund will specifically promote movie-making technology, help exports of Chinese films, invest in commercial productions and build film websites,” it said. Xinhua did not say over how many years the government would provide such funding.
Banks would also be encouraged to lend to the sector, production companies would be encouraged to list on the stock market and issue bonds, and insurance companies would be encouraged to buy stakes in film companies, it added.
Hollywood has traditionally dominated China’s box office, but Chinese films overtook their US rivals in 2013 taking more than 58 percent of the box office, according to state media, and the government has been keen to boost domestic talent.
US studios have been taking steps to appeal to the fast-growing Chinese box office, which hit 21.8 billion yuan last year.
 


LOS ANGELES: “Short Term 12” star Keith Stanfield has landed the third lead alongside Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor in the Miles Davis movie “Miles Ahead,” which will serve as Cheadle’s feature directorial debut, an individual familiar with the indie project has told TheWrap.
Rather than a traditional biopic, “Miles Ahead” chronicles a few dangerous days in Davis’ life as the jazz icon (Cheadle) teams with a Rolling Stone journalist (McGregor) to hunt down a stolen recording intended to reignite his career.
Stanfield will play Junior, an edgy but impressionable trumpet player involved in the theft.
A co-production between Cheadle’s Crescendo Productions and financier BiFrost Pictures, the period picture will start production next month in Cincinnati. The project also boasts the support of Davis’ estate.
Cheadle co-wrote the script with Steven Baigelman, and he’s also producing with his Crescendo partner Lenore Zerman and BiFrost’s Daniel Wagner and Robert Ogden Barnum, as well as Darryl Porter and Vince Wilburn Jr Baigelman and Cassian Elwes will executive produce with Pamela Hirsch, Cheryl Davis and Erin Davis, while musician Herbie Hancock, who collaborated with Davis, will also be involved as music supervisor.


Cheadle has put his own money into the project, which he has been trying to get made for seven years. He’s currently in the midst of raising additional funds via Indiegogo to help recreate the different time periods depicted in the script and secure certain music rights. He’s asking for $325,000 and so far, the project has raised $146,000.
UTA packaged Cheadle’s passion project and is handling US rights. IM Global is handling international distribution.
Stanfield, whose breakout performance in “Short Term 12” earned him roles in “The Purge: Anarchy” and a pair of James Franco projects — “Memoria” and “American History.” He recently wrapped Ava DuVernay’s MLK movie “Selma” for Paramount and producers Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt.
Stanfield is represented by Innovative Artists, IAM Entertainment and Ginsburg Daniels.


 

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