Chinese-Korean Co-Pro Halted over THAAD Fallout

Entertainment continues to be hit hard in dispute over placement of US weapons system.

A Chinese-Korean co-production starring actress Zhang Ziyi has become the latest casualty of China’s crackdown on all things South Korean as the fallout between the two countries over the THAAD anti-missile system continues.

“[Korean actor] Ha [Jung-woo] was scheduled to film the Chinese movie titled The Mask with Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, but his planned appearance was scrapped due to visa issuance and other problems,” a spokesperson at Ha’s talent agency told Yonhap.

“We understand that the film project itself was called off because of Ha’s absence,” the spokesperson said.

An adaptation of a Korean novel, the film is a suspense thriller that spans three east Asian nations of China, Korea, and Japan. It was meant to be directed by up-and-coming Taiwan director Chen Zhengdao.

Best known for her role in the Oscar-winning flick Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Zhang Ziyi has also branched out to production and has been trying to get The Mask off the ground for a few years already. Her own company Beijing Qingyi Mandarin CCI Capital is producing, as well as leading Chinese studio Huayi Brothers.

Zhang Ziyi personally invited Ha Jung-woo to take part in the film. Japanese actor and heartthrob Joe Odagiri was also attached, according to local reports.

The Mask had already been approved by China’s media watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) as an official co-production, reports said.

The film is just the latest of many projects and businesses which have been affected in China’s war against Korean businesses in response to a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile defense system set to be operational as early as April.