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Postcard from... Beijing


Shooting begins in Beijing this week on the latest instalment of the Iron Man series, with the producers introducing a well-known Chinese actor to help ensure the film gets a favourable reception in the fastest growing major movie market in the world.

Wang Xueqi, who featured in the popular local films Sacrifice and Bodyguards & Assassins, has been cast as Dr Wu. He also stars in China's entry in the foreign-language category of the Oscars, Caught in the Web.

"Uniting the best of the United States and China to produce world-leading entertainment on Iron Man 3 is truly a unique experience and marks the first time a franchise movie of this size has filmed in China," DMG executive Dan Mintz said.

The Beijing-based DMG is helping the US comics company Marvel with production, and the inclusion of a bona fide Chinese star and the decision to shoot in China will certainly help with its bid to gain co-production status.

If a film is judged to be a full co-production it is treated like a homegrown Chinese film and so sidesteps a quota restricting the number of imported films. It is also immune from the periodic blackouts of foreign films, and the filmmakers get a bigger share of box office revenues.

Chinese film authorities were said to be livid when the director, Shane Black, told the Comicon conference in San Diego in July that neither he nor the cast would go to China during Iron Man 3 shooting, and that he would rely on a second-unit crew "while I'm by my swimming pool".