In an apparent case of life imitating art, a producer on Johnnie To’s 2013 crime movie Drug War has reportedly been detained by police in Beijing on drugs charges.
Liu Wei, who is identified as a producer on the 2013 crime movie, was detained after being found with three bags of cannabis in his Beijing home, according to a report in the Beijing Morning News on Sunday,
Drug War (毒战) follows a drug lord (Louis Koo) who’s forced to help the police bust a methamphetamine ring run by his former associates, or face the death penalty.
State broadcaster Beijing TV aired footage of Liu, his face blurred, showing police where the drugs were hidden at his home, and requesting he be able to make a phone call.
The arrest is the latest in a string of celebrity drug arrests which started in 2013 the most high-profile of which netted Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee Chan, for drugs charges in August 2014.
Drug War production studio Beijing Hairun Studio released a statement on Monday denying that the person in question had anything to do with the film.
But footage aired on Beijing TV clearly shows the police asking specifically about the man’s involvement in drug-themed films and his answer that he was involved in Drug War.
When the producer was asked by the police why he was in possession of the drugs he told them it was to relieve the stress he was enduring as a result of too many failed investments in films and TV shows.
Liu told the police he first started using drugs when studying in the United States in 2003. The 29-year-old reportedly started his own company in 2012 and was also involved in Johnnie To’s 2015 film Office (华丽上班族).
A new film law introduced earlier this year includes a clause stipulating that people working in the film industry should uphold deyi shuangxin – which roughly translates to “moral and artistic integrity.”
The clause represents a “basic requirement” that a film professional “should not take drugs and do things which violate public morality,” according to veteran director Chen Kaige.
— Additional reporting by Belinda Zhang