Book reveals real drama in Chinese filmmaker's life

By Raymond Zhou ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-03-11 07:44:42

Book reveals real drama in Chinese filmmaker's life

Zhang Yimou and producer Zhang Weiping at a promotional event for their movie Flowers of War held in Beijing in December 2011. [Photo/CFP]

A new book reveals iconic filmmaker Zhang Yimou as a victim of emotional blackmail by his longtime former producer. Raymond Zhou has the details.

Who would have thought that China's most prominent filmmaker has more drama in his real life than the typical plot of some of his movies?

For 16 years, Zhang Yimou was manipulated by his former producer who did not pay him on time, if at all, and wrecked his relations with family, friends and colleagues. The jaw-dropping expose has been penned by Zhou Xiaofeng, Zhang's script consultant since 2006.

Fate: Zhang Yimou the Lonely is obviously approved by the famed director, who has shown a remarkable degree of reticence when hit by hailstorms of mud thrown at him. It also goes against the original intention of Zhou, a well-established writer in her own right, who had previously vowed to eschew public association with the filmmaker.

The decision to give a tell-all account dawned on the day in early 2014, when Zhang was forced to pay 7,487,854 yuan ($1,098,185) in penalties for fathering three children in violation of China's family planning policy. In her book, Zhou confirms previous suspicion that producer Zhang Weiping (no relation to the director) was behind leaking the decadelong secret of the director's unregistered children.

If that accusation comes as no surprise, Zhou drops a real bomb when she discloses that Zhang Weiping and his wife were instrumental in breaking up the director's relationship with Gong Li, Zhang's muse and lover of many years.

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