Chariots of Fire Sequel is Latest to Shoot in China

By  · Published on June 25th, 2015

Twentieth Century-Fox

Cue the music. It’s a fun track to listen to whenever you’re racing through the words of a movie news post, of course, but Vangelis’s theme to Chariots of Fire is especially pertinent to this one. Technically, nobody is making an official sequel to the 1981 sports drama, which is one of those Best Picture winners iconic enough to likely never be tarnished with a remake or true follow-up. But there is another movie being made about Scottish Olympian Eric Liddell, and it will cover his later life, so it is basically a sequel, just not one involving any of the people or the studio behind the original.

It is funny to think of this new biopic, titled The Last Race and set to star Joseph Fiennes as Liddell, as part of the current trend in Hollywood to chase after Chinese money (production-wise and consumer-wise) for big franchises. It will be shot in China, like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Iron Man 3 and the planned Need for Speed 2. But The Last Race is primarily a Chinese production, and more notably it has to be set in the country even if it wouldn’t necessarily need to be filmed there. The movie follows Liddell back to China, where he was born and where he eventually died, in an internment camp during the Japanese occupation in World War II.

Unofficial or not, The Last Race is also the latest sequel to a major ’80s prestige period piece that was nominated for Best Picture (and won, in Chariots’ case). This year saw the release of John Boorman’s Queen and Country, which is pretty much officially a sequel to his 1987 World War II drama Hope and Glory. Both of those movies are really only connected by the fact they’re both semi-autobiographical works, the newer title set later than the earlier. There have also been unofficial sequels to Raging Bull and Platoon.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.