Paul the psychic 'oracle' octopus, who shot to fame following his accurate predictions of World Cup match results, is slated to become an international film star.
Paul topped his record by correctly predicting that Spain would win the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa earlier this month. Spain won 1–0 against the Netherlands.
Now, two film companies have joined forces to tell the story of how the octopus acquired his amazing ability. Currently, the film – which is described as a dark comedy – is undergoing post-production work, following completion of filming in South Africa.
China Film Group Corporation and Beijing Filmblog Media Company, who are behind the project, are keeping the specific details about the film firmly under wraps. The filmmakers are refusing to comment on whether the movie’s title – The Murder of Paul the Octopus – suggests a not-so-happy ending for Paul. It's slated to be released August 2010.
Following the World Cup, and after correctly predicting the outcome of eight matches, it was announced that Paul was going into retirement. Consequently, a body double has been used for the film.
Since coming to the world’s attention, Paul has become an icon in China, a country which is known for its obsession with football and gambling and octopus as a food.
The Shanghai World Expo has issued a special stamp in commemoration of Paul, and Taobao.com is marketing a wide range of octopus-themed merchandise.
Taobao's Wanh Shu told Peace FM:
Since Paul became extremely popular among soccer fans as well as some stylish young people, I have sold more than 50 octopus-shaped tissue boxes a day, each priced at eight yuan [15 cents; 75 pence].
Many other products printed with octopus patterns have also proved to be a craze, for example tablecloths, table ware and cushions.
Meanwhile, according to Peace FM, Beijing street vendors say that the price of octopus has soared from 40 yuan ($6; £4) per kilo to as much as 65 yuan ($10; £6) since the World Cup was staged. One vendor said, “I can sell at least 50 kilograms in a day. There are some customers buying octopus for pets.”
The China Film Group Corporation (CFGC) – which, in Chinese, is 中国电影集团公司 – is the largest state-run movie organisation in China, and is involved in TV production as well as cinema. Subsidiaries of the group include China Film Corporation, Beijing Film Studio, China Youth Film Studio, China Film Co-Production Corporation, China Film Equipment Corporation, Movie Channel Production Center, Beijing Film & Video Laboratory, Huayun Film & TV Compact Disk Co., Ltd, and China Film Import & Export Corporation, which is the country’s sole authorised importer of films.
CFGC produces more than 30 feature-length movies, 400 television plays and 100 telefilms every year. Two of its most notable films are Kung Fu Hustle (2004) – which is directed by and stars Stephen Chow – and Protégé (2007) – directed by Derek Yee, and starring Andy Lau.
Paul, a common octopus (Octopus vulgaris), lives at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre, in Germany, although he is believed to have hatched at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre, in the UK, in January 2008. His career as an oracle is said to have begun during the UEFA football championships in 2008.