Leeds & West Yorkshire

Chinese Jane Eyre film plans announced by Bradford City of Film

BBC One adaptation
Image caption Ruth Wilson, as Jane Eyre, and Toby Stephens, as Rochester, star in a BBC One adaptation

A Chinese film version of the novel Jane Eyre could be shot in both China and the Brontes' home in West Yorkshire.

Bradford City of Film said the project could be shot in Qingdao, China and around Haworth's Bronte Parsonage.

Charlotte Bronte's book has been popular in China since an abridged copy was published in Shanghai in 1925.

The film organisation's David Wilson said there was "a long-held Chinese love affair with the story".

Mr Wilson, director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, said the film project was in its early stages but "could be the start of something" and "a fantastic opportunity with huge tourism benefits".

The organisation aims to develop cultural co-operation among cities. Bradford was declared the first UNESCO City of Film in 2009 because of its rich film heritage.

The production would be a contemporary retelling of the story for a Chinese audience but could include some scenes filmed in West Yorkshire because the landscape was such an important part of the book, Mr Wilson said.

There has been no discussion of the casting yet but it is expected Chinese and British writers would work on the development of the script.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The Tsingtao brewery was founded in the port city of Qingdao

Qingdao is a coastal city in Shandong province with a wide industrial base.

Meetings about the plan to make the Chinese film were first held in the country in November, Mr Wilson said.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Bronte siblings

  • Charlotte - born on 21 April 1816, was the eldest of the siblings to reach adulthood, but the last to die. She wrote Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette, and died on 31 March 1855, aged 38
  • Branwell - born in 1817, was the only Bronte brother. He was a writer and painter and died in 1848, aged 31
  • Emily - born on 30 July 1818, wrote Wuthering Heights but died of tuberculosis aged 30 in December 1848, two months after the same illness killed her brother
  • Anne - born on 17 January 1820, wrote Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She died in May 1849, aged 29
  • They had two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, who died during childhood
  • The sisters initially published their work under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.

Source: BBC History

Lauren Livesey, of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, said: "Books by the Bronte sisters came out 150 years ago and it is difficult to imagine now but they were really pushing the envelope, quite shocking and radical.

"But now they've become quite 'chocolate-boxy' so it is really important we get these contemporary retellings."

The themes of independence and female emancipation were "always going to find an audience", she added.

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