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China Exclusive: Nebula-nominated "Three-Body Problem" completes filming

by Xinhua Writers Yao Yuan and Ji Shaoting

BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- The movie adaptation of Chinese science fiction bestseller "The Three-Body Problem" has completed shooting, the film's producers announced Wednesday.

Directed by Zhang Panpan and starring actress Zhang Jingchu and actor Feng Shaofeng, the movie corresponds to the first book of the Nebula-nominated trilogy by Liu Cixin, according to Yoozoo Pictures.

Its plot revolves around young physicist Ye Wenjie's contact with the Trisolaran civilization living in a three-sun system. The three-part saga portrays the centuries of clashes between earthlings and aliens that resulted from Ye's initial contact.

A total of 200 million yuan (32 mln U.S. dollars) has been invested into the film, which boasts the largest investment in post-production visual effects for a China-made movie, Yoozoo said.

The movie is expected to hit screens next July, a spokeswoman with the company told Xinhua.

Director Zhang Panpan said the movie will try to capture both the science of the novel and its humanity.

"I wish to present the book's Chinese characteristics, especially our unique world views and life philosophies inherited from thousands of years of history," he told Xinhua.

The much-anticipated movie has stirred controversy since it was announced last year, with critics saying China's film industry is not yet ready to make such a sci-fi blockbuster with many scenes requiring advanced special effects.

But some sci-fi writers, including Liu, have expressed support for the film, saying China's movie industry should explore the popular genre and use China's own sci-fi stories.

"Everything needs a start," said Liu, also an executive producer of the film.

"American sci-fi movies took off with Spielberg and Lucas, who were neither mainstream nor household-name directors back in the 1980s," he said, voicing support for the film's young production team.

Despite high demand for sci-fi movies, which have had immense box office success in China through Hollywood films such as "Interstellar" and "Transformers," domestic titles have long been lacking in the market.

Yet industry observers said with more than a dozen such domestic films being made, China may soon have its own sci-fi blockbusters, and "The Three-Body Problem" is expected to be the first landmark.

The best-selling Chinese sci-fi series has sold over 1 million copies in China. The first book of the series was translated into English and hit shelves in the United States last year. It was nominated for the 2014 Nebula Awards, which recognizes science fiction and fantasy books published in the United States.

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