Christian Bale made one of the most kick-ass clerics we've ever seen in 'Equilibrium,' but he's playing a different brand of heroic priest in the upcoming 'The 13 Women of Nanjing.'

A new image of Bale on the set with Chinese director Zhang Yimou ('Hero,' 'Raise the Red Lantern') has just been released (see it and other images after the jump).

The recently wrapped film tells the tale of an American priest who takes refuge in a church with 13 prostitutes and a group of schoolgirls as the Japanese invade in 1937. Various heroics, we imagine, ensue.

It's familiar territory for Bale, who played a British lad trying to survive in Japanese-occupied China in 1941 in Steven Spielberg's 'Empire of the Sun.' And, as a pre-cowl Bruce Wayne, Bale was in China mastering the martial arts in 'Batman Begins,' time very well spent, we'd say.

The film, alternately known as 'Heroes of Nanking' and 'Nanjing Heroes,' will have 40 percent English dialogue and 60 percent Mandarin. 'Nanjing' is China's film most expensive ever produced at a budget of $100 million.

It opens in China on December 11, 2011. Its US release date has not yet been set, but it will be among the films at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

[Via Slashfilm]
categories Movie Photos, Movies