Tremendous Foreign Talent on Zhang Yimou’s ‘Snipers’

AJ Donnelly

8th March 2022

I’ve posted quite a lot on social media recently, letting people know the reason I think they should go to see Snipers AKA Sharpshooter 《狙击手》, from the thoughtful and intense direction by Zhang Yimou and Zhang Mo, to the deeply emotional portrayal of the Chinese actors. Not to mention that it’s something very different, and really not what you’d expect from a war movie.

But I would be remiss not to add that the foreign snipers add another layer in a subtle but substantive way not often seen in Chinese cinema.

Foreign snipers in training

This group wasn’t simply chosen based on their headshots, but were hand picked by Zhang Yimou and Zhang Mo based on what they as actors and individuals could bring to their respective roles. And these roles weren’t simply ‘turn up, face the camera and pull the trigger’. Each of them had to physically prepare long before shooting began, including losing a substantial amount of body fat and attending a two-week military boot camp to get experience in sniper training. Once on set, each one of these gentlemen brought their A-game, not just because of the directors, not just because of the high profile nature of the movie, but because each one is a professional when it comes to acting, and each had unique talent that they brought to their role, whether big or small.

The team underwent a 2-week bootcamp prior to filming

As of yet, there is no word on if the movie will get an international release. But even if it doesn’t, at the very least it should be available to buy or stream in the next few months. Once it does, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, whether you are a native Chinese speaker or not (it’s fully subtitled in English), I sincerely encourage you to go see this movie, understand the story that it is trying to tell, and appreciate the efforts made by all involved, especially Zhang Yimou and Zhang Mo, for their attention to detail and choosing foreign actors who not only looked the part, but also had the talent and skill to bring their characters to life.

PS. Sorry for the low quality images. I got most of them from other people’s social media. I’ll endeavor to use better quality ones in the future! 😅

Published On: February 24th, 2022 / Categories: Behind the Scenes, Movies /

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