The producers of Michael Bay's upcoming Transformers 4 will launch a reality TV audition show to cast four Chinese wannabes in the film. Previous installments of the franchise have proved incredibly popular in mainland China (Dark of the Moon is currently No.4 in the country's all-time box office chart).
It was recently announced that Paramount Pictures' Transformers 4, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor, will be a co-production with Chinese companies Jiaflix Enterprizes and China Movie Channel, will be partly shot in China and include some exclusive Chinese content (as is the case with Marvel's imminent Iron Man 3).
They are now taking the idea one step further by giving four lucky Chinese citizens (two with prior acting experience and two without) the chance to appear in the film. All they need to do is successfully negotiate the specially created television talent show, catchily entitled Transformers 4 Chinese Actor Talent Search.
Talent contests are among the most popular television shows in China, so this looks to be a fantastic way of generating interest and excitement for the film ahead of its 27 June 2014 opening. The show will start airing this June, with a panel of judges that includes Jiaflix Boss (and former AMPAS head) Sid Ganis, the film's producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura and casting director Denise Chamian, as well as Paramount's chief of marketing & distribution, Megan Colligan. From the Chinese side, China Movie Channel deputy director Jia Qi, and vice-president of online portal M1905, Liang Longfei, through which contestants can register.
That tantalizing judge line-up on its own makes me want to tune in to this show, as it could prove a hotbed of conflicting egos and compromised interests that has the potential to influence the film's production too. If they are smart about this, the producers should definitely consider screening a subtitled version of the show in Western markets. Not only is it likely to prove ferociously compelling viewing, but could serve as a genuinely insightful window into Chinese culture.