Star’s remarks trigger debate

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Star's remarks trigger debate

Jiang Wen rarely sticks to the script when making public appearances.[Photo/Xinhua]

A Chinese movie star recently sparked controversy when he implied that aircraft carriers constitute the prerequisite for selling movies overseas.

Jiang Wen, when promoting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, told an interviewer: “The top priority (for China) is to develop aircraft carriers. When China has twice as many such carriers as the United States, everything will be easy.

“Perhaps the US makes awful movies, but the whole world is willing to accept them because they have aircraft carriers as their support. It’s useless to have intellectual property alone.”

Jiang was answering questions from a reporter with Beijing Youth Daily about the possibility of Chinese films possessing the global appeal of Hollywood spectacles such as the Star Wars franchise.

Various interpretations and comments have surfaced in response to Jiang’s remark.

Some said he has placed importance on the overall power of a country rather than using the tunnel vision of the film industry alone. Others argued that he was attempting to attribute the low quality of Chinese films and their lack of competitiveness on the international market to the country’s military might compared with that of the US.

Jiang, also a formidable film director, is known for his maverick ways in making films and dealing with the media.

Unlike his peers, he rarely sticks to the script when making public appearances. During the same interview, he refused to say he likes the Star Wars movies. Instead, he said he was prone to turn down the role of Baze Malbus in Rogue One, but his son changed his mind.

In a previous interview with China Daily, Jiang said his political views were often misunderstood and he valued the aesthetics of a piece of art more than its political content.

His reference to aircraft carriers as backup for the film industry has since resonated with the online public, with many expressing approval and praising him for his plain-spoken integrity.

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was in the South China Sea for military drills around the New Year holiday. A second carrier is under construction and, according to reports, will be completely Chinese designed.