When it all started going wrong, they called George Harrison. The former Beatle’s movie shingle, Handmade Films, was the company behind one of 1986’s biggest cinematic hopes — Shanghai Surprise — an international period caper starring the biggest celebrity in the world and her recently acquired husband, himself a critically-acclaimed actor.
But things weren’t going to plan on the Hong Kong set of the film (celebrating 35 years this week), which is the story of a fortune hunter (Sean Penn) who helps a nurse (Madonna) source some opium in 1938, while being chased by an array of gangsters and other n’er-do-wells.
Paparazzi were invading the production, the notoriously fractious leading couple were, well, being themselves and for mild-mannered British director Jim Goddard, it was all a bit too much.
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