China Diary

Day 14: Beijing bound

Me and Lei and the weird smoking island.

The last day on our Qingdao trip was, again, amazingly hot. We left the (terrible) hotel behind and jumped on a car to drive for nearly an hour to see the first option for one of the key locations of the film. I had described that I wanted to have a big industrial kind of a harbour, with preferably cranes and ships around. Well, there was a ship, and there was a crane – but the ship was an old cruise liner, the crane was a very small one. It was really nice bask in the sun, though, and enjoy the view over beautiful sea.

The second location was nearly two hour drive away. Mika dozed off, as did most of everyone on the car, and I spent time emailing, playing Hearthstone and listening to Hawkwind. To drive for two hours to see a location, especially knowing that we only would have some twenty minutes to spend on the location, was a bit of a hazard, but when we arrived, we knew we had found what we were looking for. A massive old container port, with an abandoned, huge container ship in mint condition sitting at the dock full of mindbogglingly huge cranes of all sorts and styles.


These kind of things really make it all worth the long trips: you instantly start seeing the movie in your head, mind racing for shots, lighting solutions and action pieces. Even more so, adding new scenes. And that can be hazardous, too, for budget and schedules… But the idea of shooting in real location much of the movie after Iron Sky The Coming Race, which was 100% shot in studio, is promising and a nice chance of events.

Back at the airport, the first thing we learned was that our flight was to be delayed. So me, Max and Mika found a nice table from the VIP lounge and spent few hours there, working, drinking Tsingtao beer Max managed to grab for us and contemplate the production. The reason to take the plane was that we wanted to be earlier in Beijing, the rest of the crew took the 5 hour train, but thanks to delay they arrived to Beijing some three hours before we did…

And of course, there was another screwup waiting – the production hotel we’ve been using was fully packed and Mika was left without a room. Max lost his shit to the production, and rightly so, because after such a long, hard and complex trip, we had to share my apartment for the next two days. It’s not a problem since there’s an extra room, but at 2am, totally exhausted, the whole hassle of getting the luggage and fighting over the room was indeed badly timed.


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