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Christian Bale Signs On for Chinese Epic

Next up for the Oscar hopeful: Zhang Yimou's $90 million Chinese production Nanjing Heroes, a historical drama about the the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, in which Japanese soldiers killed thousands of Chinese citizens. The movie will be shot 40 percent in English and the rest in Mandarin, and Bale will play an American priest who helps a number of near-victims escape death. Says Yimou, who directed the bonkers opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olymics: "It's the overall strategy for Chinese cinema to approach the world and broaden its influence but casting Bale was a coincidence because the script happened to have an English-speaking part in the lead." And while there's no indication that his character will speak Mandarin, Bale will probably learn it, just in case. [HR via Playlist]

Photo: Getty Images