Hollywood Reporter has an item that caught me by ... surprise. Apparently, the U.S. film company Relativity Media is shooting part of a movie in Linyi under a partnership called Sky Land.
This is the Linyi in Shandong Province. The same place where blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng is being held under extra-judicial house arrest in a local village. He was detained after being released from 51 months in prison -- the consequence of his trying to lead a class action lawsuit against area government campaign of forced sterilization and abortions. Chen and his wife were reportedly badly beaten at the behest ofofficials earlier this year.
The Hollywood Reporter story says that:
"The comedy is said to be about buddies who celebrate a 21st birthday with a night of 'debauchery and mayhem that none of them will ever forget' on the night before one of them has an important interview to get into medical school.
The youthful cast includes Miles Teller (Footloose), Justin Chon (The Twilight Saga),Skylar Astin (Taking Woodstock) and Sarah Wright (The House Bunny).
The script is by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, whose credits include The Hangover. They are also directing."
It goes on to add:
"Production commenced Oct. 26 in the city of Linyi, in the south of China's Shandong province.
The Chinese Communist Party Secretary of Linyi's Municipal Committee, Zhang Shajun, who ranks above the local mayor, issued a statement welcoming the production to his city and adding that he 'particularly welcome(s) my good friend (Relativity CEO) Ryan Kavanaugh and his great company" to his 'historic city,' adding: 'We promise to provide the best service possible in order to help make the movie successful worldwide.'
Tucker Tooley, Relativity's co-President said the Sky land partners love this 'hysterical film and it's gratifying they want to build a foundation immediately alongside our cast and crew. We are very much looking forward to shooting in China, especially in a place as amazing as Linyi.'"
UPDATE: The press release from Relativity Media can be found by clicking here. And I became aware of this turn of events after reading a Twitter post by Phil Pan, who reported extensively about Chen Guangcheng's ordeal during his time as The Washington Post's Beijing Bureau Chief. He later expanded on that material in his excellent book, Out From Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China.