Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why 'Formosa Betrayed' wasn't filmed in Taiwan

Those who have already seen the movie Formosa Betrayed, which is scheduled for release in Taiwan on Friday, may have noticed that the actors’ accents, the locales and many of the characters didn’t look or sound “authentic.” The reason for this is very simple: The Taiwan scenes weren’t filmed here, but in Thailand.

However, the decision to shoot there, rather than where the political thriller is set, wasn’t entirely in the hands of the producers. In an interview with the Taipei Times in Taipei on Thursday, Will Tiao (刁毓能), one of the main actors and the producer of the film, suggested politics played a big part.

“What most people don’t know is that we came to Taiwan, we had casting sessions here and we wanted Taiwanese actors,” said Tiao, a Taiwanese-American.

However, the shadow of the giant market next door weighed heavily.

“A number of performers didn’t want to do this because they were afraid of what this would do to their careers in China,” he said. “We interviewed a number of actors and later would hear through their agent: ‘We read the script and we decided no, we’re not doing it.’”

Another issue with the Taiwanese performers who auditioned was that as the movie is primarily in English. Many of the actors weren’t fluent enough.

Those, however, were not the main reasons why the film wasn’t shot here.

The movie studio had turned to the National Development Fund (NDF), a Cabinet agency, for funding, a process that started in 2007, one year before shooting began and when Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of the Democratic Progressive Party was still in power.

This article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here. The rest of my interview with Will Tiao will be published on Monday.

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