’ve seen lots of onscreen dramas regarding the major battles of World War II, but one of the least covered aspects of the period involved a smaller, but just as brutal conflict that kicked off when Japan invaded China just a few years prior. The Sino-Japanese War was actually a rather one-sided conflagration where Japan occupied parts of China and killed tens of millions as China struggled to hold out through stalemate and attrition.

Sony Classics has acquired a new drama set in this turbulent locale called The Children of Huang Shi. As you may have gathered by my usage of the word “set,” this isn’t the story of that conflict, but rather a more “conventional” tale of a conscientious reporter (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) who leads a bunch of war orphans to a remote village away from the fighting. Along the way, he’s assisted by two locals and a nurse, respectively played by Chow-Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Radha Mitchell.

Given that it’s the story of a white guy magically swooping in and helping some poor ethnicity, I’m surprised that Ed Zwick isn’t directing this, but I guess he can’t be everywhere at once. In his stead, veteran hack Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies, The Sixth Day, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot) is at the helm.