Principal photography has begun on “Unspoken,” toplining Chinese star Zhang Hanyu and written and directed by Chen Daming. Filming is taking place in China and Canada for a 2022 release.
“Unspoken” is being produced by Huanxi Media and CMC Pictures of CMC Inc., with an international production team led by Court Five’s Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming, Chinese producer Han Sanping and CMC’s Ming Beaver Kwei. Former Columbia/TriStar president of production Chris Lee is an executive producer.
Zhang is the first actor to win the “Grand Slam” of top acting honors in China, which is now the world’s largest film market.
“Unspoken” also stars Michael Cudlitz (“The Walking Dead”), Jake Abel (“Malignant,” TV’s “Supernatural”) and Vivienne Tien.
The film centers on Xu (Zhang), an ex-cop who’s estranged from his deaf daughter in the midst of her studies at an American university. Her sudden death raises grief and guilt in Xu; he becomes convinced the local authorities are pursuing the wrong suspect and that racism is compromising the investigation.
With a young Chinese translator in tow (Vivienne Tien), Xu seeks justice as well as redemption as he attempts to understand his daughter better.
Writer-director Chen says, the love of Chinese parents is often unspoken, “silent yet profound.” In a country that’s a mystery to him, “Xu discovers deeper truths about himself and comes to appreciate his daughter’s life more fully. In a larger sense, ‘Unspoken’ is about the transformative power of communication, empathy and understanding.”
Ordesky and Fleming add, “We are thrilled to be working with this illustrious Chinese team to ramp a truly international production. With three languages [English, Chinese and ASL] being utilized regularly on set, we are living proof that with effort and patience, understanding is always possible.”
Huanxi Media CEO Steven Xiang said they believe the film “will resonate with audience both in and outside of China. Its cross-border setting makes it even more interesting.”
CMC Pictures’ CEO Catherine Ying said: “CMC Pictures is privileged and honored to be part of this unique project,” pointing out that it explores the bias within both East and West cultures and that the film balances “intimate drama and intense action.”
Michael Cudlitz is represented by APA, Anonymous Content and attorney Mitch Smelkinson at Goodman, Genow, Schenkman and Christopher. Jake Abel is represented by APA, Untitled Entertainment and attorney Marcy Morris.
“Unspoken” is being filmed in Manitoba, Canada, with the support of Manitoba Film & Music and the government of Manitoba.