Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou has selected Hollywood star Christian Bale to star in a movie depicting atrocities committed by Japanese troops after their invasion of the Chinese city of Nanjing in 1937.
The $90 million production is an adaptation of a Chinese-language novel by writer Yan Geling. It features an American priest who shelters a group of female prostitutes and students during the invasion of Nanjing, then China's capital.
The British-born Bale, whose previous credits include starring as the comic book superhero Batman in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, will play the priest.
Zhang says he chose Bale because of the actor's versatility and dedication to his craft.
China says more about 300,000 people were slaughtered as Japanese forces went on a violent rampage through Nanjing, making it one of the worst atrocities of the World War II era.
Zhang has garnered attention in the West for his 2002 epic action movie Hero, and for directing the lavish opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.