Beijing’s best-known actor pulled no punches when it came to Hollywood and its expression of American soft power.
With his first English-language role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story now on screens in China, actor, director, and producer Jiang Wen has taken the peculiar stance of declaring that Hollywood films are welcome internationally because of the size of the US Navy.
Although speaking somewhat figuratively, Jiang dismissed the broader ideas of soft power and that the Chinese film industry’s growth and success have made it a global player, in an interview with Beijing Youth Daily. “We need to move slowly, first develop our aircraft carriers, when we have double the aircraft carriers of the United States, then we can discuss everything.”
Jiang went on to say that “It doesn’t matter if the US makes crappy movies, the whole world still accepts them, because it has aircraft carriers standing behind them, [intellectual property] has absolutely no use.”
The Tangshan-born film figure has a history of speaking his mind, including about films in which he appeared. “What a stupid movie. Who would believe that the emperor’s daughter would fall in love with a traitor?” he said regarding The Emperor’s Shadow (Qin Song), in which Jiang starred as the titular monarch.
However, Jiang praised Rogue One director Gareth Edwards for his tenacity. “This director is really cute, he sticks to his guns. He pretends like he is shy, but he really holds his position. But he’s also very lucky.”