The Guardian reports that Jean-Jacques Annaud will be directing the film adaptation of the novel Wolf Totem by author Lu Jiamin - better known by his pen name of Jiang Rong. (See full article).
A quote from the Guardian piece:
The Associated Press reported that Annaud would be forced to make an apolitical interpretation of the novel in order to pass Chinese film censorship, with the Beijing Forbidden City Film Company's statement about the project avoiding the book's political messages to describe it as "an environmental protection-themed novel about the relationship between man and nature, man and animal".
This sounds like the real deal, but it does bring back some memories: anyone recall a few years back, when rumours of a Peter Jackson/Weta adaptation of Wolf Totem were flying fast and furious? One imagines that the Jackson version would have been heavy on computer graphics and special effects, while Annaud plans to spend 18 months raising and training the wolves himself.
I'm curious about the screenplay adaptation. Will it be based on the French translation of the novel (Le Totem du loup, by translators Yan Hansheng and Lisa Carducci), or the English translation by Howard Goldblatt, or will they start from scratch and work up a screenplay based on the Chinese novel? Will the film itself have Mongolian dialogue, or Chinese, or both? Not English or French, certainly.
I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this in the months to come...