Here’s some interesting cross-cultural casting news, by way of The Hollywood Reporter.

Christian Bale is set to star in celebrated Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s forthcoming drama based on the real-life Nanjing Massacre, entitled Nanjing Heroes.

The film takes place in 1937 and covers the six-week period in the city of Nanjing (the former capital of the Republic of China) where the Imperial Japanese Army launched an attack, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and raping thousands of the female population.

This looks to be a much more of a serious affair than the director’s recent, well-known fantasy work (Hero and House of Flying Daggers) but it will still maintain the epic feel of those films, with 600 million yuan ($90.2 million) being invested in the film, and a team of Hollywood effects houses being employed to create the massacre.

Bale (currently winning plaudits for his performance in David O. Russell’s The Fighter) has been cast in the English-speaking role of an American priest who helped save hundreds of Chinese refugees.