In Hollywood, U.S. and Chinese hackers are friends

Michael Mann — director of the venerable Al Pacino/Robert De Niro movie Heat and The Last of the Mohicans — is working on a new film, and its plotline sounds, well, unrealistic. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the still-untitled movie will feature U.S. and Chinese cyber agents — not duking it out across the Internet, ...

THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images
THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images
THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

Michael Mann -- director of the venerable Al Pacino/Robert De Niro movie Heat and The Last of the Mohicans -- is working on a new film, and its plotline sounds, well, unrealistic.

Michael Mann — director of the venerable Al Pacino/Robert De Niro movie Heat and The Last of the Mohicans — is working on a new film, and its plotline sounds, well, unrealistic.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the still-untitled movie will feature U.S. and Chinese cyber agents — not duking it out across the Internet, as might be expected, but working together. To stop a hacker. From the Balkans. The film is said to center around a pair of "Chinese hacker siblings"; Mann was reportedly in Hong Kong this week scouting potential lead actors and actresses.

Is this completely implausible? Well, not completely. Sure, there are some hackers in the Balkans. And sure, the United States and China occasionally make gestures toward increasing cooperation on cybercrime. But it is cybercrime from China — particularly of the state-backed variety — that is by far the bigger concern for business leaders and policymakers.

Is this another incident of Hollywood kowtowing to China and its enormous potential audience (expected to be the biggest film market in the world by 2020)? Sure seems like it, at least. 

Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer is the Europe editor at Foreign Policy. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Forbes, among other places. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and master’s degrees from Peking University and the London School of Economics. The P.Q. stands for Ping-Quon. Twitter: @APQW

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