EXCLUSIVE: With seemingly all of Hollywood eager to get a piece of the increasingly lucrative Chinese pie to help fuel their global ambitions, Adrien Brody has succeeded in doing just that by embracing the local biz. The Oscar-winning actor-turned-producer is currently riding high at the Chinese box office, thanks to a starring role opposite Jackie Chan and John Cusack in the epic Dragon Blade. The film, which opened at No. 1 during the Chinese New Year celebrations, is close to grossing more than $100 million after only two weeks of release.
Dragon Blade‘s success is even more noteworthy for coming the same month box revenues in China exceeded those in the U.S. for the first time ever. In February, the U.S. box office grossed $640 million compared to China’s $650 million — albeit the latter figure was boosted by a host of Chinese New Year releases.
The success is no accident for Brody, who fought hard for the role. Already well-versed in Chinese culture, and having worked with renowned Chinese filmmaker Xiaogang Feng on the 2012 drama Back To 1942, Brody set out to get Chan’s attention, using his newfound connections in the Middle Kingdom to get him in the same room as the diminutive superstar.
“I feel a deep connection to Asia,” Brody tells Deadline. “I’ve been able to develop close friendships with a core group of extremely talented filmmakers and financiers, who have opened many doors.”
The result is that Brody is now at the helm of a well-capitalized company, Fable House. Brody, who shot five films in 2014 including passion project Manhattan Nocturne on which Fable House is involved, has big ambitions for the company. “We have access to an enormous amount of financing if it appeals to my partners’ sensibilities,” says Brody. “A lot is going to transpire following the success of Dragon Blade.”
Fable House will naturally look to projects with global appeal as well as Chinese elements although that will not be a restriction on the company, rather a guiding light. The company is staffing up in both the U.S. and China and expects to announce its first slate shortly.