Originally Wu Jing, one of the protagonist, only agreed to show up in one scene, but since he was the only big star of the film, the director Frant changed the script and kept putting him in more and more scenes. One day of shooting became weeks, then months. Wu jing's pay for each movie is around 10 million us dollars. After weeks of shooting, the director asked him that, since the movie was over-budget, maybe he didn't mind not getting paid. Wu jing loved the director and the film so much, not only that he agreed not getting paid, he invested his own money of about 9 million us dollars in it. Many people thought Wu Jing was conned by the director at that time. In fact, without Wu's name, the movie wouldn't have been sold to so many theaters at all. If director Frant is the father of the film, Wu Jing is like its guardian angel. This kind of blessing rarely happened in Chinese film industry.
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The story is based on Hugo Award winning novelist Cixin Liu's novel of the same name.
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According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Wandering Earth is China's "first full-scale interstellar" film. Chinese science fiction author and screenwriter Anna Wu says science fiction "is a new challenge for the Chinese film industry." While there have been numerous fantasy films, she told The Verge that studios and investors have hesitated when it comes to the genre because of the perception that they need both a high level of special effects and to rake in lots of money in order to be successful
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Many may question the idea of moving the entire Earth rather than building some big spaceships. Actually as the novel originally tells, the United States proposed to build big spaceships to send mankind to settle in the new solar system. However, only the wealthy elites may get onboard due to space restraint. A ticket cost more than 30 million dollars. This plan got shot down during a huge civil unrest after word leaked out that people who can't pay 30 million dollars will be left to die. China and the rest of the world proposed to build giant engines to move the entire planet as we saw in the movie. Another consideration as mentioned in the novel is that risks for spaceships to sustain a biosphere for 2,500 years are too high.
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Gong Ge'er, producer of the movie, guest starred as the police man at the Ji'ning police station.
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Wanda Media originally invested heavily in this film, but later pulled out the fund for another romantic film. This move almost halt the film production, but luckily the team persuaded the actor Wu Jing to forfeit his pay, even made him investing in the film. Wu jing had one condition, that they must make it a "good film", which they faithfully achieved. The movie became a smashing hit in Chinese market, and Wu Jing will get his money back and much more. Interestingly, Wanda Group's other subsidiary, AMC theaters, is the major distributor of the film in the US. However, you will watch the film in subtitles without English voice dubbing.
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Chinese movie industry had contacted some famous directors: James Cameron, Luc Besson, Alfonso... to name a few. All rejected the proposal. The job eventually landed on a not-so-famous director Frant Gwo, who was most passionate about the original story. Gwo and his colleagues wrote an outline of 25,000 words, which was way above normal. They spent 6 months together, working day and night, writing then rewriting the draft. In the end the draft alone has one million words. Each character you see in the film has detail background and stories.
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The director, Frant Gwo, had never directed a Sci-Fi movie before. He only had two previous movies directing experience. Before Wandering Earth was finished no one thought he was capable of pulling such an epic film off.
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Despite some cues share similarities to Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises, the score wasn't composed by Hans Zimmer, it was Roc Chen who composed the incidental music for this film.
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The order in which the various international crews turned around to help push in the firing pin is the same order in which the various nations arrived to help China in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
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Many scenes didn't make the final cut which made the story a bit confusing at times. For example, the original novel mentioned there's a growing distrust towards the United Earth Government among people as a conspiracy theory spreads stating that the Sun is not going to die any time soon and the whole Wandering Earth project is just a cover for elites to have total control over the population. This explains why those rescue teams carry weapons. And it also explains why Li Yiyi (the nerd) was very aggressive (swinging a wrench) when the main protagonists entered his truck as the truck was probably sacked by rebel forces. Also in the final scenes protesters are seen walking on streets of underground Beijing. This also explains why the "Firing Rock" (Lighter Core) is not stored near the earth engines. As earth engines are fusion cores and to start a fusion reaction it takes a lot of energy. It can be assumed that the "Firing Rock" (Lighter Core) is similar to a nuclear bomb and can't be lost to rebel's hands.
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