Sales figures for the first week of June showed Gong Li's latest Hollywood picture, the horror film "Hannibal Rising," leading in North American DVD sales.
"Hannibal Rising," in which Gong Li had a major role, was released in the U.S. early this year. While it did not make a major impression at the box office, grossing but US$27.7 million, its DVD sales have been outstanding. This will also bring some unexpected benefits to Gong Li. It should also be noted that "Hannibal Rising" knocked the previous top DVD seller, "Night at the Museum" from its top ranking, the latter film sliding to fourth place.
In addition, this is the only one of the North American DVD sales leaders that had its theatrical release this year, a good foundation for further sales.
"Hannibal Rising" relates the early story of Hannibal Lecter, starting with his childhood in France before he went to America, and what changed him into the monster he would become in later episodes in the saga. Gong Li's character Lady Murasaki Shikibu is a recurring one throughout the entire film. Regarding her character, Gong Li said in an interview that "I think my role this time was completely different than I had in my last Hollywood movie, 'Miami Vice.' in that while both were 'bad,' it was a different kind of 'bad' this time."
Through her appearances in such Hollywood movies as "Miami Vice" and "Hannibal Rising," Gong Li has shown she is officially heeding the call of Hollywood's trumpet. Although new films are as yet not finalized, Gong Li has indicated in interviews with foreign news agencies she is prepared to accept any role Hollywood may offer.
To quote Gong Li: "From Zhang Yimou to Wong Kar Wai, and then to Hollywood development, I have gone through many challenges, so now I feel prepared to take on any role." She added that "Zhang Yimou wants to have everything down pat, including the script. Wong Kar Wai is different: he doesn't work from a script. This was a great challenge for me. Then I arrived in Hollywood."
Now Wong Kar Wai has gone to Hollywood to seek further growth, and has completed "My Blueberry Nights." Gong Li said she has already seen this film, and really appreciated its tone. "I really liked the lives and yearnings of the movie's characters. Wong Kar Wai maintained his film's 'emotional tone.' In the movie, Norah Jones' character takes a broken-hearted journey across America."
[Source: Beijing Youth Daily Online. Byline: Shi Qing]