China Diary

Day 68: World Coming Down


We are now back in Beijing, and I was revealed we have under one week to go before the first shooting day! Oh, the horror! Simultaneously, we are still missing two actors who both are key – but not leading – roles, so the pressure to find them is growing. Luckily, their shooting days are way longer in the future, but I’d loved to have my cast ready before the shoot, not during (and definitely not after). But our casting teams are on it, and if there’s one thing in China, it’s people, so we should be OK.

After the endless car rides in Qingdao, I was hoping it’s better here in Beijing, but yesterday we counted with Mika we had been sitting in the car six hours before the day was over. Some of the fun activities of yesterday’s trip consisted of: visiting our Beijing studios. Visiting another studio where our stunts are rehearsing. Visiting our new Beijing offices. Visiting a shady restaurant that was the only one still open close to midnight when we finished the day off.

Mika is to fly back to Finland tomorrow for Unknown Soldier’s premiere, making me the only Finn in Fangshang district in Beijing for the rest of the week. I’m about to set this district ablaze, be prepared all the party places, I’m coming! Bring in the booze, the girls, the party – I’m on fire!!

Only that… there is literally nothing here. The closest resemblance of a “bar” is 15 kilometers away, and even that is not exactly what the word means in where I come from. But there’s a beautiful lake outside my hotel and some nice walking around to do if the weather stays decent, so maybe that’s what I should do. Chill out a bit before the tornado hits. Yeah, sounds better.

Annika is coming here in 8 days. It feels like the last days are dragging on like a drunken snail. Yesterday, she applied for the visa, and only afterwards I realized that it actually could have been denied easily: the whole country is jumpy because of the upcoming National Meeting, which is the Communist Party’s meeting that decides what’s going to happen for the next ten years. The police presence is much heavier everywhere, getting on and off a train means 4-5 passport/body checks and people have been asked not to come to Beijing unless absolutely needed. Afterwards, things should get better: things like money transfers to foreign country can begin again and all the business gets back to normal, but for the next few weeks, everything is a bit on hold.

Not our production, of course. But everything else.

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