The Flowers of War, directed by Yimou Zhang (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), is set during the Rape of Nanking in 1937. Bale plays An American called John Miller, who poses as a priest in order to protect a convent of schoolgirls from invading Japanese forces. The Chinese epic had a reported budget of $90 million, making it the most expensive production in Chinese cinema.
With expectations of Zhang higher than usual, his main challenge was to incorporate Bale into a Chinese cast to create a seamless film. During filming, Bale was impressed by the Chinese actresses, praising their ability to cry on cue.
The Rape of Nanking has been adapted for screen in China before; this film has taken a new direction, as the story is told from female perspective. This is no surprise, as Zhang is known for his strong female protagonists.
Flowers of War is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer here.