September 30, 2008

Chinese Classics Come To Life On The Small Screen

The television version of the classic epic Romance Of The Three Kingdoms (三国) (on which the hit movie Red Cliff is based on) has just begun shooting yesterday. Starring well-known Chinese television personalities like Ruby Lin, Lu Yi, Nie Yuan, Peter Ho, Chen Hao, Huang Wei De and Chen Jian Bin in the principal roles, shooting for this 60-episode television adaptation will last for one year and is scheduled to debut on Chinese television in 2010. Pics of the main cast in costume can be found here.

This is the second classic novel out of the The Four Great Classic Novels Of Chinese Literature that has been adapted for television this year. Another classic Dream Of The Red Mansions has already started filming in May this year. This version will star newcomers in many of the principal roles, (e.g. Yang Yang as chief protagonist Jia Baoyu and Bai Bing as Lin Daiyu's love rival Xue Baochai). To date there is still no confirmation on who will play Jia Baoyu's love interest Lin Daiyu. Pics of the cast can be found here. Hmmm... very "Chinese opera-ish" costumes...

No news yet on when the other two classics, Journey To The West and Water Margin will start filming although there have been some news that Zhang Ji Zhong, the director of Journey will start filming this series after he has finished shooting the latest version of Louis Cha's Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (gawd..... yet another remake :-P).

And for something different, I found this video on YouTube of the famous flower burying scene from the original CCTV version of the Dream Of Red Chambers... If you have not seen 1980's TV serials from China, you can get a taste of in in this vid below... Enjoy :-)

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September 22, 2008

More Korean Drama News...

On air Korean drama East Of Eden has been steadily climbing up the ratings chart hitting a high of 26.3% last Tuesday and 25.8% this Monday. With 40 more episodes to go, East Of Eden may yet hit a new high in its ratings.

Other dramas that have been performing well and moving rapidly up the charts include Jumong star Song Il Gook's 36-episode period drama The Kingdom Of The Winds (pic), a sequel of sorts to Jumong as Song plays Moo Hyul, Jumong's grandson and another great king in Korean history. Whether Kingdom Of The Winds can match Jumong's popularity remains to be seen but it sure looks like Song Il Kook has cornered the market for "great historical king" roles after his star turn in Jumong ;-)

And there is going to be another remake of the hit manga Hana Yori Dango, this time a Korean version. Hana Yori Dango is so well-loved that practically all the live-action remakes of the manga so far have been massive hits. The Taiwanese version (Meteor Garden) launched the careers of the Jerry Yen and Barbie Hsu. The Japanese version raised the showbiz careers of Matsumoto Jun (Domyoji), Oguri Shun (Rui) and Inoue Mao (Makino) to new heights, especially Oguri Shun who is incredibly popular in Japan right now.

The Korean version scheduled to air either at the end of the year or next spring will have 24 episodes and although the cast has not been officially announced, it is widely rumored that popular boyband SS501's Kim Hyun Joong has been cast as Hanazawa Rui. No news yet on the rest of the cast...

Another Korean TV drama serial that has the public buzzing is Song Hye-Kyo's comeback drama after 2004's Full House - The World They Live In (or Worlds Within). Also starring Hyun Bin, all that I managed to find out about the plot is that it is about lives of two directors who are played by Hyun Bin and Song Hye-Gyo respectively. The drama is currently in production and is scheduled to debut in October this year.

And yet another highly anticipated comeback drama is Lee Byung Hun's big-budget spy thriller IRIS which is currently in pre-production. According to this site, the drama has a budget of US$22 million and there will be location shoots in the United States, Japan, Russia and China! Whew, this is even bigger than East of Eden! Lee Byung Hun is said to be currently preparing for his role in the drama (source). And... I am already tingling with excitement ;-)

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