“I read Li’s autobiography when it was first published a few years ago. I found his story totally compelling but rejected any idea of trying to film it as I didn’t believe anyone could be found for the central role. This necessitated finding a young Chinese dancer in the very front rank, fluent in English and Chinese, handsome, and able to handle a complex acting role. However, I didn’t take into account the determination of the producer, Jane Scott, who bought an option on Li’s book and insisted we embark on a worldwide search for our leading man,” said director Bruce Beresford.
Opening August 20 at E Street Cinema, the film poignantly captures the struggles and triumphs, as well as the intoxicating effects of first love and celebrity amid the pain of exile. Mao’s Last Dancer showcases ballet sequences from acclaimed Australian choreographer Graeme Murphy and co-stars Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, and Joan Chen.