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Bale, the priest

hollywood Updated: Dec 26, 2010 00:52 IST

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Hollywood actor Christian Bale has been chosen to play an American priest in the movie

Nanjing Heroes

based on the Nanjing massacre in China.

The Batman Begins

actor will play a priest named John, who helped a number of Chinese citizens escape death during the country’s Nanjing massacre, when Japanese troops killed thousands in 1937, reports


The $90.2 million film is being directed by Zhang Yimou, who insists he didn’t choose the actor for his popularity. “I met Christian in America and was impressed with his serious book research for the role. It’s the overall strategy for Chinese cinema to approach the world and broaden its influence, but casting Bale was a coincidence because the script happened to have an English-speaking part in the lead,” said Yimou.

The movie will be filmed in English and Mandarin, and shooting will start January 10, 2011 in a Republican Era (1911-1949) replica church built near Nanjing.