Internet novelists begin to take control of their own drama

I'd watch this.

Chen Xiao in uniform? I’m sold.

Remember back in the days when novels were first being made into TV series? Now, these writers are skipping the novel part and going straight to TV.   With the famous Tonghua (Bu Bu Jing Xin, Cloud Song, Desert Melody) setting the way and now producing her third series  (Perfect Couple, Cage of Love, and an upcoming one), others are joining suit.  A number of upcoming series will be penned by their original authors, including Hai Yan for Nirvana in Fire and Gu Man for Wallace Chung and Tang Yan’s modern series 何以笙箫默.

Others have gone straight to script-writing, producing new works just for the screen.  Most noted for her books involving female secret agents time-travelling and pwning the ancient world,  Xiaoxiang Dong’er is writing a script for Yu Zheng featuring once again special force members, this time set in the Republican era. If anything, the thought of announced lead Chen Xiao in uniform is enough for us to be excited about.

Infamous novelist Vivibear is also working with Yu Zheng on a Palace spinoff.  Despite her notoriety for plagiarism, I’m kind of hoping that Yu Zheng will pick up her book on Lanling Wang because it explains the beauty of the Prince of Orchid Hills by saying she’s actually a girl crossdressing as a boy.

Finally, historical romance writer XiaoChun, who gets nightmares about scriptwriters ruining her books,  revealed she’s also working on a script. Although she’s only written two books, she’s known for her deep knowledge of her subjects and cramming a lot of history into her stories, which is why she’s one of my favorites.

While there’s been a good track record for novelists to advice rather than write their own scripts (the other Hai Yan, Yan Geling, Tonghua, etc.), it’s to be seen how these direct transition from internet novel to script will work. Will these new scriptwriters find success among their predecessors like Qiong Yao and Guo Jingming? What do you think?

 

Chen Xiao’s “The Condor Heroes” Releases First Preview

Chen Xiao and Michelle Chen display their tag-team kung fu as Yu Zheng shows off his Photoshop fu. (Seriously. Look at Chen Xiao’s forehead.)

Yu Zheng may have been accused of plagiarism, but that’s not stopping him from going full-steam ahead with his other high-profile project, the newest adaptation of wuxia classic Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕侠侣). Starring Chen Xiao as Yang Guo and Michelle Chen as Xiaolongnü, the drama is now officially titled The Romance of the Condor Heroes.

The preview is essentially a mishmash of scenes that will probably make sense only to those who know the storyline (or, seeing as Yu Zheng is the screenwriter, maybe not). Check out the video and some stills below, and get your first look at Yang Rong as Mei Chaofeng.

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Qiong Yao Accuses Yu Zheng of Plagiarism

Qiong Yao vs. Yu Zheng

Qiong Yao vs. Yu Zheng

To no one’s surprise, producer-screenwriter Yu Zheng is being accused yet again of plagiarism. This time, the charge comes from well-known novelist Qiong Yao, who claims that his currently airing drama, Palace 3 (宫锁连城), copied her novel-turned-1993-series Plum Blossom Scar (梅花烙). The event then spurred on a number of accusations toward Yu Zheng for copying varying works, including by former scriptwriters.

Qiong Yao, whom readers may know best as the creator of Princess Returning Pearl/My Fair Princess (还珠格格), published an open letter to SARFT on Sina Weibo on Tuesday afternoon. In this lengthy indictment, she writes that she was preparing to remake Plum Blossom Scar, with an anticipated 2015 broadcast, only to discover that Palace 3 was a copy of her own story.

The similarities between the two series have not gone unnoticed by viewers. Even Palace 3 actress Shirley Dai commented that Yu Zheng’s work was born out of Plum Blossom Scar, a scandal that caused a fallout between Yu Zheng and Dai. Both plots involve a switcheroo of the two main characters as a result of a preference for boys, and a similar love triangle between the three leads, although Yu Zheng’s series branches away then by doing a remix of Painted Skin II by having the two lead females switch skins.

Qiong Yao claims that this incident has caused her to fall ill from anger and that she has stopped all work, including a screenplay for her own adaptation, for which she has already completed 25 episodes. Her daughter-in-law, who serves as the manager of Qiong Yao’s mainland-based production company New Image, contacted Hunan TV, the almost exclusive broadcaster of the company, to ask the channel to halt the broadcast of Palace 3, but it was to no avail.  Qiong Yao also asked her supporters to boycott Palace 3, in order to protest Yu Zheng’s lack of respect for copyright.

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Round up: What’s Yu Zheng up to?

Which drama does this still remind you off? This one? Or this one?

Quiz up (can someone make me a Chinese entertainment version?)! Which one of these is not a drama recently produced by Yu Zheng? Song in the CloudsPalace 3Return of the Condor Heroes 2014, or The Palace? Colorful stills are abound from each drama, and synopses for these can be found by following links to previous posts.

More than once he’s been called upon to “scat from the entertainment circle,” but Yu Zheng is still going strong: his upcoming dramas include Turnip 蔓蔓青萝, a story concerning the young lady Li Qingluo (“Green Carrot”). The daughter of a concubine, she and her mother are disdained by the rest of her high ranking family, and she rarely puts on make up or competes with her sisters for attention. Yet she is a talented zither player and a skilled cook, and when her mother is sick in bed one day, only she leaves to search for medicine. Disguised as a boy one day, she meets the “Five Princes of Feng City,” thus opening a tangled love story…

Also upcoming is his “sequel” to the Legend of Lü Zhen, Legend of Mingyue. (Looking forward to seeing Chen XIao in uniform? This is a Republican era piece). The drama series is based off of the novel The Last Prince, the love story of the “last prince” of the Qing dynasty. Yu Zheng also has plans to adapt the last series in the Condor Trilogy, Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber, to television sometime in the future.

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“Song in the Clouds” to Air on June 30th

Angelababy’s smiling at the news just like you are! (Except you probably aren’t Photoshopped.)

Someone must have made a big offering to the cdrama gods, because Song in the Clouds (大汉情缘之云中歌), also known as Yun Zhong Ge, has now announced a broadcast date as well: June 30th.

Starring Angelababy, Du Chun, and Lu Yi, Song in the Clouds is an adaptation of a novel by Tong Hua (of Bu Bu Jing Xin fame). The story takes place after Desert Melody, now titled Legend of the Moon and Stars (星月传奇), which is unfortunately still in that post-production void.

In a nutshell, Song in the Clouds is the story of Huo Yunge (Angelababy), who rescued Liu Fuling (Lu Yi), the Emperor Zhao of Han, when he was eight years old and lost in the desert. Fast forward ten years, and Yunge is off to the emperor’s court looking for the young man she rescued. Unfortunately, she meets and falls in love with Meng Jue (Du Chun), only to discover that she’s being exploited by those hungering for power in the imperial palace.

Song in the Clouds is produced (though not written) by Yu Zheng, and also features everyone’s favorite Chen Xiao. It will air on Zhejiang TV, Jiangsu TV, Shenzhen TV, and Dragon TV.

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“Condor Heroes” release stills for Dong Xuan,Yan Yikuan

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Dong Xuan, Yan Yikuan goes to the Yule Ball.

While the leads of The Condor Heroes are getting all sorts of hate,  the rest of the cast still get pretty stills.  The latest set released are of name-changed Yan Yikuan as Wang Chongyang, the founder of the Quanzhen Sect,  and Dong Xuan as Lin Chaoyin,  the founder of the Ancient Tomb Sect of the main character XiaoLongNv.  The pair of star-crossed lovers has a rather beautiful love story, which you can read more about here.

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Weibo Wednesday: September 18, 2013

The big news these past two weeks was obviously Faye Wong and Li Yapeng‘s divorce, a topic that continues to trend on Weibo. I don’t have much to say about it, except that I was not expecting it at all. But even a divorce can’t cover up the happiness of marriage, and we were lucky to get not one, but TWO celebrity weddings in the first half of September!

赫子铭: 今天我们幸福的婚了!下来后朋友问我是不是很累,我说实话我已经幸福的什么都忘了,其实这两个月最辛苦的不是我俩,而是所有的工作人员还有媒体朋友,我代表我媳妇儿感谢各位,还有那些到场和没到场的朋友们!感谢你们的祝福,因为在你们的见证下,我们的婚礼才显得格外有意义!总之铭记于心,感恩

First up are actor He Ziming and Super Girl He Jie, who wowed us with their proposal, their wedding photoshoot, and now their actual wedding ceremony. The two of them tied the knot on September 12th, and their wedding photos are absolutely gorgeous. Check out these two photosets, courtesy of Nice Wedding, for some ideas for your own wedding! ;)

Today, we happily got married! After we came down, friends asked me if I was tired. To tell the truth, I was so happy that I’d forgotten everything else. The two people who went through the most difficulties these past two months actually wasn’t us, but all of the employees and our friends in the media. On behalf of me and my wife, we thank everyone, as well as the friends who could and couldn’t make it! Thank you all for your blessings, because only with you as your witnesses could our wedding seem especially meaningful! In short, engraved in my memory and heart, thank you.

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Stills of Chen Xiao, Michelle Chen,Zhang Xinyu released for The Condor Heroes

Any more like a fairy now?

My feelings on the casting of Michelle Chen as the Little Dragon Maiden are comparatively weak, which is why I am the one posting the latest stills from Yu Zheng’s new version of Return of the Condor Heroes. That, and because I strongly dislike (hate) Yu Zheng. Previously, he had shown us pictures of Michelle Chen in the audition gown for Jin Yong’s ethereal ice beauty and promised that she would look even better in the real costume. 

…Well, the real costumes are out now. I suppose you could say that the backgrounds are very heavenly. (Yu Zheng, why can’t you even get little details right? Is it so hard to keep her clothing completely white? Why is there all this pink and blue?) Chen Xiao‘s Yang Guo has also had official stills release, and as usual, Chen Xiao is an attractive young lad. Unfortunately, he looks like he’s wearing several bandanas over polka-dot pajamas. Though one would argue that it is better than this.

Instead of wondering what Yu Zheng was thinking (because maybe he wasn’t), let’s wonder how he can top the craziness of this drama. Stretch that imagination!

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Yu Zheng Selects Michelle Chen as Little Dragon Maiden

Yang Guo might end up being prettier than Xiaolongnü in the upcoming Return of the Condor Heroes adaptation…

Ben Affleck may be the next Batman, but guess who the next Xiaolongnü (Little Dragon Maiden) is going to be? Producer-screenwriter Yu Zheng finally announced who he’d selected to play the female lead in his upcoming adaptation of Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕侠侣). Amid heavy speculation that the role would go to Angelababy, Guo Biting, or even Yuan Shanshan, Yu Zheng decided on the one name no one would have thought of: Michelle Chen.

The revelation led to much criticism online. Although Michelle shot to fame after starring in the 2011 Taiwanese romance film You Are the Apple of My Eye (那些年,我们一起追的女孩), many netizens feel she lacks the physical characteristics requisite to portray Xiaolongnü. “The string on which Xiaolongnü sleeps will be crushed by her weight,” some wrote.

The hashtag “Yu Zheng, get out of the entertainment industry” soon became a hot topic on Sina Weibo, but like always, Yu Zheng has stuck to his guns. “I dare to guarantee that after Michelle’s costume photos are released,” he said in an interview, “no one will say she doesn’t look like Xiaolongnü.”

Now that the photos have been released (there’s another one behind the cut), you can take a look and decide for yourself. Does Michelle Chen fit your image of one of the most ethereal beauties in the wuxia universe?

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“The Palace” stands out with antique painting posters

Who would win in a cutest babyface competition? Zhou Dongyu or Zhao Liying?

Fan Bingbing and Guo Jingming are not the only ones taking a stab at producing films this year. Joinng them for the Qixi holiday will be drama writer Yu Zheng’s first film, “The Palace.” Starring Zhou Dongyu, Chen Xiao, Zhao Liying, Zhu Zixiao, “The Palace” the film will will follow yet another young maiden as she enters the Forbidden Palace.

As the only major period film of the summer, The Palace lives up the name with a beautiful set of antique painting posters. Unfortunately, I still think everything else  about the film screams horror film, but this set of painting-themed posters are rather pretty, as is the cast.
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