MOVE OVER LARA,
Copyright 2001 Reuters
[ September 11th 2001 ]
17 or 18 years old, 1.7 meters tall with an Asian
face and the figure of a Scandinavian swimwear
model. She's "Chyna" - the Middle Kingdom's answer
to voluptuous virtual action queen Lara Croft.
as "Qing Na" in Chinese, the computer-generated
starlet will make her debut on October 1 in a
five-minute animation sequence billed as China's
first ever all-digital film. But her creators
are already plotting a glittering multi-media
career - from record contracts to video games
- on a scale to rival the heroine of the hit video
game "Tomb Raider".
all the most beautiful, uniquely Chinese features
in our minds when we pictured her image in our
head," said Wu Yong, art director at Dream Space
Digital Image Co, which designed Chyna based on
girls from Hong Kong and the mainland. "She is
about 17 or 18 years old, stands about 1.7 meters
high and has brown eyes and dark hair," he said.
"Some of it is dyed a fashionable light brown
which is very popular among Chinese youths."
and rebellious with a sentimental streak, Chyna
is, in short, Wu's fantasy woman. State media
describe her rather more prudishly as "a young
dynamic woman, who demonstrates dazzling acrobatic
dances and songs".
million yuan (165,751 pounds) five-minute short,
to premiere at Beijing's Millennium Monument,
is co-produced by Beijing Forbidden City and Trinity
Co Ltd and Beijing Millennium Monument Digital
Media Co. They say the technology behind Chyna
can match recent Western computer-generated movies
like the $115 million (78.9 million pound) "Final
Fantasy: The Spirits Within".
will show her against backdrops including the
Great Wall of China, the Pyramids and Easter Island.
She will have a male sidekick named Qin Yong,
inspired by the terracotta warriors who guard
the tomb of the Qin dynasty Emperor Qinshihuang
in the northwestern city of Xian.
is headed for greater things. "This five-minute
movie is just the start of her life and career,"
said a spokeswoman for Beijing Forbidden City
and Trinity. Next come music albums, toys, photobooks,
television shows and video games. Another short
film is already slated for May 2002.
Na is rather like a reverse of Lara Croft," said
Liu Huhu, president of Beijing Millennium Monument
Digital Media. "We make an all-digital movie first,
then launch into games and other industries."
Croft - a sassy English archaeologist - began
life as the main character in the video game "Tomb
Raider", produced by Britain's Eidos. She has
since become an international pop icon incarnated
by Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie in the
Hollywood blockbuster "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider".
has yet to hit the mainstream, but she is in hot
pursuit of her Western counterpart. The first
Chyna toys are expected to hit the market at the
movie's premiere, Liu said. She is already registered
as a trademark and has licensing deals with several
video game, stationery and clothing companies,
mostly from Hong Kong.
biggest personal computer maker, Legend Holdings,
is considering using her in its advertisements
alongside Zhang Ziyi, star of the Oscar-winning
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", Liu said. And
Chinese soft drinks maker Wahaha has plans to
team her up with the face of its current ad campaign,
comedian Stephen Chow -- star of the Hong Kong
smash hit "Shaolin Soccer".
remains is to find a real-life Chyna -- and that
should not take long. Her creators recently launched
a nationwide campaign to find the perfect look-alike
to be the star of a television show to be shown