Source: China State Council Information Office 3
As an eventful 2020 comes to an end, shooting has recently concluded on new movie “Chinese Doctors,” which focuses on the frontline medical workers fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.
Based on true events during China’s battle against the coronavirus as well as the prevention and control measures during Wuhan’s 76-day lockdown, preparation and filming for the movie took eight months.
The main action takes place in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, the eye of the storm and one of the key hospitals treating coronavirus patients early this year. At the same time, events from several other key hospitals in Wuhan, as well as the emergency field hospitals constructed in record time, are also weaved into the storyline.
The film is centered around the medical workers in Wuhan, as well as the teams of medical professionals from across the country who traveled to Hubei — the province hit hardest by the first wave of the virus. Veteran actors and actresses including Zhang Hanyu, Yuan Quan, Zhu Yawen and Li Chen star in the film, paying tribute to the medical warriors who fought on the frontline.
Andrew Lau, director of the classic “Infernal Affairs” — and most recently the Chinese blockbuster “The Captain,” which is also based on a true story — helms the “Chinese Doctors” project. He chose to shoot the film in the cities of Wuhan, Wuxi, Shanghai, before finally wrapping in Guangzhou.
The movie’s creative team entered Wuhan soon after the city’s lockdown ended in early April 2020. They met face to face with hundreds of frontline workers, collecting a large amount of valuable first-hand information and conducting in-depth interviews with the medical team from Guangdong province led by China’s top epidemiologist Dr. Zhong Nanshan. During this process, the heroic deeds of these medical workers from far and wide left a deep impression on those making the movie.
“Most people don’t know enough about the city of Wuhan and the doctors and nurses there,” Lau said. “We made this movie to show everyone that Wuhan is a city of heroes, and that these medical workers in white were truly heroic.”
The creative team also ensured every actor in the film received professional training in how to play medical workers, and how to appropriately and precisely perform medical-related actions. In addition, medical workers who had served on the frontline in Wuhan were also on hand to provide extra guidance to the actors when necessary.
The film crew also received assistance from the authorities, including the China Film Administration, National Health Commission, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as experts from Hubei’s provincial health authorities.
Bona Film Group, the production company behind the movie, are experienced at turning real-life events into movie blockbusters. Their previous triumphs include “Operation Mekong,” “The Bravest” and “The Captain,” as well as an investment in director Roland Emmerich’s Hollywood war epic “Midway.”
Lau went to great lengths to ensure the hospital sets looked as authentic as possible, having professionals around to ensure they were convincing. In addition, many of the movie’s extras are also medical workers in real-life.
“Chinese Doctors” has now entered post-production and is set to hit screens in 2021. Yu Dong, chairman of Bona Film Group, said they are aiming to make the movie an epic that reflects the battle against COVID-19 and the heroes who fought, while also inspiring the world.
“This year, the raging pandemic has meant many industries, including the film industry, have had to withstand the worst hit in their history,” Yu added. “Everyone across the country experienced this pandemic together. Though we were hit hard, we’ve also been deeply touched by the spirit of the numerous Chinese medical workers fighting on the frontline. The humanistic spirit will hopefully comfort and inspire audiences, and we hope to use the lens of cinema to memorialize the extraordinary year of 2020.”