"Forever Young" cast members pose for a photo at a press conference held in Beijing to promote the film, December 6, 2017. [China.org.cn]
The mysterious epic "Forever Young" starring Zhang Ziyi will be unveiled in January 2018 - six years after the project was first announced.
A stellar cast of Zhang Ziyi, Huang Xiaoming, Leehom Wang, Chang Chen and Chen Chusheng attended a press conference on Wednesday in Beijing to announce the release date as Jan. 12 next year.
The film, written and directed by acclaimed writer-turned-director Li Fangfang, was originally planned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Tsinghua University in 2011, with a budget of over 100 million yuan. The story covers four generations spanning a hundred years of modern Chinese history since World War II.
Actress Zhang Ziyi and actor Huang Xiaoming both mentioned in previous interviews that they cried after reading the script. By the end of 2012, the film had finished shooting but nothing has been heard since. Director Li commented in June 2014 that she is extremely meticulous about post-production and the film will be ready for release by the end of that year. However, it was not.
Sun Zhonghuai, CEO of Penguin Pictures and Vice President at Tencent Holdings Ltd., one of the film's producers, said the nearly 6-year wait has made this production "a legend" in Chinese film industry.
The past five years has witnessed great changes in the actors' personal life. When the cast members shot the film, they were all single. Now they are all married with children.
Huang Xiaoming added, "First I was attracted by the director's good script, then I was moved by her sincere creative work ethic, as she had researched and studied tens of thousands of historical photos and documents to reenact the historical details in her production. I believe a good film is like a good wine, the longer it takes to make the better it will taste."
Director Li Fangfang later joined the cast on the stage and praised them, "every one of them wanted to act as best as they can for their roles. We worked sincerely together and hope to tell a good story."
It is also worth noting that the film was shot in film stock and may be the last film in China produced this way as most film processing studios have closed as Chinese filmmakers turn to digital filmmaking.