A Writer’s Odyssey tells the story of Kongwen Lu (Dong Zijian), the author of a fantasy novel series following a heroic teenager, also named Kongwen, on a quest to end the tyrannical rule of Lord Redmane, under the guidance of a Black Armor (Guo Jingfei). But through a strange twist of fate, the fantasy world of the novel begins to impact life in the real world, leading Guan Ning (Lei Jiayin) to accept a mission from Tu Ling (Yang Mi) to kill the author.
I had the opportunity to connect with the director Lu Yang last month to discuss A Writer’s Odyssey. He spoke about what attracted him to be a part of this story and the connection he hopes the audience will have.
Nancy Tapia: Pleasure to speak to you, Lu. How exciting to talk about a film starting 2021.
Lu Yang: Yeah, it is indeed very exciting to finally start talking about films for the year 2021. Because for the past year it’s been very hard for all the people working in this industry. We do hope 2021 will be a good start for the film industry.
Nancy Tapia: Yes, indeed. You were talking about A Writer’s Odyssey since last year. So was there a conflict with the pandemic and the release date?
Lu Yang: Well, actually we had a little bit of luck with the release dates. Actually all the shooting process was finished at the end of 2019. So based on the workload of the post production, the post production was actually completed at the end of 2020. So with the release date, it’s not affected that much by the pandemic. The filming was completed at the beginning of 2019.
Nancy Tapia: Okay, the reason I asked is because I was wondering if maybe you had extra time to make additional changes.
Lu Yang: Actually, we spent about two years on the post production. In terms of post production for the film, you always wanted to make some changes. So yeah, there’s always not enough time. We tried our best to make the best of it.
Nancy Tapia: Okay, great. Now let’s really talk about the film. What was it about the story that made you want to be like, “Yes, I want to direct this”?
Lu Yang: A Writer’s Odyssey is about a story of love and of faith. It’s about a person, whether he can stick to his faith and to remain, be a nice and kind person when life goes hard. Also it’s a story about a father trying to find his amazing daughter. This story moves me because I’m also a father too and I was touched by the story. It’s a story about a novelist. I always thought that the relations between literature and the film industry is profound. I want to take this chance to dive in this story and to talk about the relations between literature and also film.
Nancy Tapia: In that case as a father, but could you relate to the character with the outcome as the father trying to save the daughter’s life?
Lu Yang: Yeah. We always wanted to emotion link to that character, because during the filming process, I was already linked to that character profoundly. Not only because I was working on a film, I also wanted to create this foundation that the future audience of this film can also be emotionally linked to that character. We wanted to not only parents be able to feel the character’s emotion, but also a child. You can also be moved or be touched by the story. This is the kind of emotionally linked we wanted to build with the characters, with myself, and also with the future audience, no matter if it’s the parents or a child.
Nancy Tapia: Can you share about your favorite scene to shoot?
Lu Yang: It’s actually very hard for me to choose one favorite scene, because we spent five years in filming and the post production of this film. Actually about 1000 to 2000 workers are on this project, and on every set, so we devoted a lot of resources and time and energy. So I think out of all the cast and workforce devoted to this film, it’s very hard for me to choose a particular character or set. But I think that when the film is released the audience will be able to pick their favorite character or scene. I talked to people who have already seen the film and they have very different choices, and I’m very excited to see what the audience would like.
Nancy Tapia: Great! To start wrapping up, is there something you can share in reference to the change of title? I understand the original title was Assassin in Red. Why the change?
Lu Yang: The reason we changed the name is because we wanted to leave this impression for the audience who first got to know the film. This is not a suspense or crime film. It’s an adventure fantasy film. Also as I’ve said before, I wanted to emphasize on the relations between literature and also film. So that’s why we changed the name to A Writer’s Odyssey to emphasize on that point.
Nancy Tapia: Well, from watching the trailer, it makes sense. Congratulations! We will be watching this film on February 12th, Chinese New Year. Thank you so much for your time.
Lu Yang: Thank you, Nancy.
You can watch A Writer’s Odyssey in theaters starting February 12th.