A man who is believed to have killed up to 70 million people in his life is to be the subject of a positive $60 million biographical film portrait, if a Hollywood producer gets his way.
“Challenging Heaven” by Steven North will tell the story of the founding of communist China with Mao Zedong in the role of George Washington.
North is currently trying to romance Beijing into offering support for the project.
“This is a very positive portrayal of Mao, and we are hoping that once the script clears the approval process, China will come forward with services and support,” he said.
North is hoping to begin shooting after next year’s Beijing Olympics.
Among the kinds of support North seeks from the Chinese government are thousands of extras.
“I need an army,” North explained.
Those extras are not likely to be paid scale. China is notorious for its continued use of slave labor as well as near-slave wages.
Though Mao, like fellow dictator Fidel Castro, is still romanticized to a degree in the West, most historians would agree he ranks at or very near the top of the worst mass murderers.
Some scholars estimate 70 million Chinese were killed or died as a result of his brutal reign. That figure does not include millions of Tibetans, Koreans and members of other ethnic groups and nationalities.
In fact, the name of the Mao movie is significant. Mao once described himself as “without law and without heaven.”
Mao wrote: “I do not agree with the view that to be moral, the motive of one’s actions has to be benefiting others. Morality does not have to be defined in relation to others. … People like me want to … satisfy our hearts to the full, and in doing so we automatically have the most valuable moral codes. Of course there are people and objects in the world, but they are all there only for me. … People like me only have a duty to ourselves; we have no duty to other people.”