The Chatter Podcast: China’s Hold on Hollywood with Erich Schwartzel

By David Priess
Thursday, February 10, 2022, 9:11 AM

This week, Shane Harris talks with journalist Erich Schwartzel about one of the most intense arenas of the great power competition between the United States and China: the movies. 

Schwartzel's new book, Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy, is a deeply reported and riveting story about how American movie studios have spent decades breaking into the multi-billion dollar Chinese market. The moviemakers' success has come at a price. They’ve made concessions to Chinese censors--going so far as to erase all negative references to China from films--and increasingly find themselves caught between their Chinese fans and the U.S. government, as tensions rise with Beijing. 

Schwartzel, who covers the film industry for The Wall Street Journal, also tells the story of how China’s government has promoted an indigenous film industry. While they have often turned out propaganda, Chinese studios more recently have produced global blockbusters and created Chinese stars. But this new entertainment A-list isn’t beyond the government’s control. 

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo with engineering assistance from Ian Enright.

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Among the works cited in this episode:

Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy by Erich Schwartzel. You can also read this excerpt of the book.

Erich Schwartzel’s work for The Wall Street Journal.

And you can follow Erich on Twitter.