The filming of Kua Guo Ya Lu Jiang, or Going Across the Yalu River, a movie marking the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army joining the Korean War, kicks off on Sunday, Aug 16, 2020. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Cameras began to roll on Saturday, kicking off filming of a new TV series marking the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army joining the Korean War.
The 40-episode production with China Media Group, Kua Guo Ya Lu Jiang, or Going Across the Yalu River, is named after the river on the border of China and the Korean Peninsula. It is also a line from the lyrics of a famous Chinese fight song during that war.
The Korean War broke out in June 1950. When united forces led by the United States went across the 38th parallel and brought imminent threat to China, the People's Volunteer Army joined the war that October, allying with the DPRK to defend the homeland and thus secure the safety of the newly-founded People's Republic of China.
"It was a key choice to decide the history," Xue Jijun, a producer of the TV series, said at a news conference on Saturday. "We'd like to reflect Chinese people's strong spirit to safeguard home and how they bravely fought against hegemony during a tough time when the country was still in ruin."
Over 300 designated roles will appear in the "panoramic epic", including state leaders like Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai, and Peng Dehuai, the commander of Chinese forces in the Korean War.
Huang Jiguang, Qiu Shaoyun, and other Chinese wartime heroes will appear in the production, but some roles are fictional, to portray the war from multiple perspectives. The producer said the accuracy of major historical events will be followed fully but some trivial details may not be different.
The TV series will cover over 20 major campaigns and battles throughout the 3-year war, including the Battle of Chosin Reservoir and the Battle of Triangle Hill, known in China as Shangganling).
Shooting will last for about 100 days in Beijing and Tianjin, as well as North China's Hebei and Northeast China's Heilongjiang, and Liaoning provinces. The crew includes 1,300 people and "tens of thousands" of extras, with soldiers also joining the production.
Xue noted the difficulty of making such a massive production, including the need for real weaponry like airplanes. And there's the need to ensure the crew's health by remaining alert for COVID-19 that also poses a challenge.
"But this project also gives us a rare opportunity Cfor creation," he said. "The production will speak for our effort, which should live up to people's expectation."
Kua Guo Ya Lu Jiang will be broadcast during primetime through Channel One of China Central Television, and the specific schedule will be decided later.
Dong Yachun, a veteran director on military-themed productions, will take charge of the new series, it was revealed at the news conference in Beijing on Saturday. He is best known for his well-acclaimed series on World War II, including Chinese Expeditionary Force (2011) and The Fight of Changsha (2014). Actor Tang Guoqiang will play the role of Chairman Mao, and Ding Yongdai will play General Peng.