AMBITIOUS plans to work with the fast-growing Chinese film industry on a modern re-working of Bronte classic Jane Eyre have been unveiled.

The initiative is part of steps by Bradford City of Film to develop a stronger role in Chinese movie production.

Support has already been provided to help Qingdao become China’s first UNESCO City of Film.

Now, at a special event at the Science Museum in London, Bradford City of Film director David Wilson has revealed how the team – together with the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth – has been working with Chinese film producers to turn Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre into a “contemporary script for a modern global audience”.

Mr Wilson, who last year took Chinese film-makers to the parsonage, hopes the production will use Bronte landmarks for shooting as well as locations in Qingdao.

He added that the project reflects China’s fascination with the Brontes and the growing relationship between British and Chinese film.

“Jane Eyre is hugely popular in China – ever since an abridged version published in 1925 in Shanghai,” said Mr Wilson.

“Since Jane Eyre’s arrival in China almost 100 years ago there have been many readings of the complex novel – from feminist manifesto to a history of colonialism – and numerous adaptations in books, operas, plays and films. The novel is a staple text in China’s schools.”

A 1970 TV adaptation of Jane Eyre, starring Susannah York and George C Scott, was dubbed into Chinese but not screened there until 1979 when it was an instant hit with audiences and the press.

Mr Wilson added: “The huge enthusiasm from producers in talks with Bradford City of Film suggests that the market is ripe for another retelling of the story in a very contemporary way.

“We are so fortunate to have such a rich literary heritage on our doorstep.

“Jane Eyre is a Chinese as well as an English heroine, and this project reflects that.

“The making of a film like this would benefit our district in so many ways, shining a spotlight on the city and moorland locations and attracting the growing phenomenon of screen tourism.”

Last year, a Bradford City of Film office was set-up in Qingdao, and the University of Bradford has been working with the Qingdao University of Science and Technology to develop a jointly-taught degree in animation.

The event at the Science Museum saw the British Library sharing material from its Chinese online learning resource Discovering Literature, part of international collaboration The British Library in China: Connecting Through Culture and Learning.