Bombshell HK-ent Dating News as High Profile Exes Faye Wong and Nicholas Tse Get Back Together

I don’t write about HK entertainers much since by and large I’ve stopped watching TVB and ATV HK-dramas. HK movies have also declined from the Golden Age in the late 80’s through the late 90’s in terms of creative and fun output. I still keep up to date on the latest on-dits in the HK entertainment scene and last month all anyone could talk about was the Beijing pot arrest of Jackie Chan‘s only son Jaycee Chan. That’s been generating headlining articles for weeks but now it’s been dethroned for the biggest HK dating news of this year (by far). Entertainment portal Sohu broke the exclusive news that HK superstar singer-actress Faye Wong has gotten back together with her ex-boyfriend and also fellow HK superstar singer-actor Nicholas Tse. For those unfamiliar with HK star news, Faye and Nic dated ten years ago at the height of their fame in a relationship that was as high profile as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston when they dated and got married.

Faye and Nic only lasted two years before reportedly HK-starlet Cecilia Cheung came between them, though later Nic went on to marry Cecilia while Faye settled down with C-actor Li Ya Peng. Nic and Cecilia had two sons Lucas and Quintus before calling it quits on their 5 year marriage in 2011. Faye and Li Ya Peng lasted a bit longer but their marriage also ended in divorce last year. With both Nic and Faye single again, and Nic openly stating in a 2012 interview that of all his exes he loved Faye the most, everyone and their grandmothers have been wondering if these two now single exes would ever get back together. Now the question has been answered – an intrepid reporter from Sohu was waiting for Faye as she finished up work and saw Nic get in her black SUV and followed them back to her luxury condo in Beijing. The reporter then parked outside the building and filmed Faye and Nic for four days as the reunited couple stayed in the condo and spent quality time together, confirming once and for all the speculation in the last year that the exes may be rekindling their romance. Continue reading

Red Hot Lee Jun Ki Fields Offers as Joseon Gunman Leads the Chinese Online Viewcount of Summer 2014 K-dramas

It was a great summer for Lee Jun Ki as his sageuk drama Joseon Gunman was the top-rated prime time drama for its time slot. Overall the ratings were down to the low teens or high single digits across all the networks but this summer did see three solid dramas in the Wed-Thurs offering. JG was up against It’s Okay, It’s Love and Fated to Love You, creating not just solid competition but diversity in genre choices for the audience. JG offered old-fashion sageuk action and romance, IOIL challenged the difficult subject matter of mental illness with a mature appeal, and FLTY remade a popular TW-drama attempting to freshen up the rom-com. JG was the most consistently satisfying for me throughout its run but IOIL will likely stick longer in my memory with some truly incredible acting and storytelling moments.

Part of the reason television ratings as a whole have fallen in domestic Korean ratings is due to the rise in online streaming of dramas. For overseas audiences streaming might be the only option to watch a K-drama and in China all the major K-dramas have been properly licensed to one of the top Chinese streaming portals. Summer remains the peak season for online drama, movie, and variety show watching since kids are out of school and the Chinese media has released a list of the top-10 streamed K-dramas over this 2014 summer season. Joseon Gunman was the runaway (by far) top viewed K-drama at over 318 million hits as of September 1st. Coming in second is FTLY with 172 million hits followed by IOIL with 169 million views. To get an idea of how big and lucrative the Chinese market is, the entire population of South Korea is currently slightly over 50 million people. Continue reading

Yoo In Na Joins Jin Yi Han and Namgong Min in My Secret Hotel Mid-drama Press Conference

I am solidly interested in all three leads of My Secret Hotel. Their characters may sometimes act impetuously or seemingly in a calculating way, but infused throughout is the feeling of watching adults do a messy complicated dance of attraction. All the kudos goes to leads Yoo In Na, Jin Yi Han, and Namgong Min, both in acting talent and bringing to the table extra experience to sweeten the portrayal. The three leads attended a mid-drama press conference this week and revealed a lot about their experiences so far filming MSH. Jin Yi Han was declared the class clown of the gang, always a bright and goofy presence when the cameras stop rolling. He has also been ad libbing a lot of his character’s lines and interactions with Yoo In Na, apparently the comedic side to his character wasn’t written in but he decided to make what was written as the cold successful chaebol architect into someone who can show his off kilter side around his ex-wife.

Yoo In Na teased that the true OTP in this drama may end up being Sung Gyum and Hae Young since the two male leads have become fast friends what with being the same age and having very compatible dispositions. Jin Yi Han confessed he sees Namgong Min like a same age hyung that he can complain to and aegyo with when filming gets tough. LOL, I totally would dig that alterna-ship. When asked which of the two male lead characters she would choose in real life, Yoo In Na would pick Sung Gyum because he’s so emotionally invested and straightforward in his pursuit of the girl. True dat. I think it’s abundantly clear that Sang Hyo and Hae Young are the end game but it’s nice to keep Sung Gyum a vested rival in the competition since Hae Young clearly has the energy to win back the wife despite increasingly stacked odds. Continue reading

Chinese Video Portal iQiyi Premieres Hilarious Web C-drama Heirs From Another Star

Ain’t nothing this year going to top the upcoming C-drama Heirs From Another Star for hot mess potential. The drama was produced and filmed in what felt like the blink of an eye and is actually arriving in mere hours as it premieres September 19th on the major Chinese video streaming site iQiyi. It was always meant to be an online web drama and there are more and more of those these days so it doesn’t indicate quality (or lack thereof) but does reflect that the drama is meant for a younger audience that watches online. Despite it’s name, the C-drama is not a mashup, remake, or parody of both Heirs and You From Another Star. The story borrows major set up elements from both dramas packaged into its own unique story. Male lead Wen Zhuo plays Emperor Yongzheng’s third son 3rd Prince who marries a Baekjae princess but their love is torn asunder when she dies to protect him and he is sucked into a time travel portal and winds up in the modern 21st century.

In 2014, 3rd Prince discovers that he’s now the high school aged chaebol heirs of a major Chinese conglomerate who is engaged to a fellow heiress at their exclusive high school who happens to be a doppleganger for his Qing dynasty true love wifey. He tries to acclimate to modern life, keep the heiress safe and make her remember their past love, all while trying to find a way back to the past. Playing the female lead is C-actress Zhou Yang who I swear looks like a knock-off version of Yuan Ai Fei, while the perpetual second male lead in both timelines will be played by Wang Yue Xin. The whole endeavor actually looks ridiculously entertaining based on the long and short previews below and might even come with easy listening theme songs to boot. I doubt subs will be needed to enjoy the silliness so feel free to check it out on iQiyi when it premieres to critical swords ready to flay it alive. Continue reading

My Lovely Girl Episode 2 Recap

Sampling and enjoying My Lovely Girl (My Lovable Girl) is a guilt-free treat for me. There’s no explanation needed for basking in warm nostalgia as this drama so breezily delivers an entire bags worth of old school K-drama romance tricks with an updated cast of players from when dramas like this were the norm a decade ago. It’s grown out of fashion, and for good reason, simplicity built on coincidences and trite obstacles ends up churning out copycats that feel like a script generated by a machine. Having not seen such a straight up classic broken man finds new purpose through a new love story in so long, it actually paves the way for an easy watching experience that continues in episode 2. It’s a treat to see the interactions between the leads straddle a nice middle road between bickering and calm conversations. Hyun Wook clearly isn’t interested in Se Na other than as an older brother taking care of what would have been his younger sister had So Eun not died and they got married. He also feels doubly responsible since So Eun’s death left Se Na adrift and struggling to make ends meet.

It’s quaint how quickly this drama pounded through all the set up from Hyun Wook’s magical phone call all the way to finding Se Na, a self-awareness that making the hows more plausible doesn’t matter in a story like this. We want Se Na and Hyun Wook to meet and kick their respective lives back into gear as quickly as possible. Even if Hyun Wook’s three year long exile feels so pointless and random since we don’t connect with how much he loved So Eun and therefore suffered with her death, what does deliver is the frisson of excitement seeing Hyun Wook slowly step back into his old life again as a music producer. It helps that there is a great baddie around trying to take his place at AnA music so Hyun Wook’s return isn’t just to help Se Na but also to right the house of his familial enterprise. Much as L is one of the worst idol actors EVER, I’m enjoying his character a lot because Shi Woo’s assholery is fun to watch butt up against an uncowed Se Na, plus he is clearly being ostracized in his group and has major insecurity issues of his own. All in all, My Lovely Girl is off to a sweet and solid start without any aspirations beyond delivering one single romantic tale. Continue reading

ABC Options You From Another Star for US Remake

I really love Jeon Ji Hyun and have loved her since My Sassy Girl and long before her recent resurgence through You From Another Star. She made that drama watchable for me despite my equal love for Kim Soo Hyun going in. I found him just so underwhelming and out of his element in the role, in the exact opposite way he overacted his pants off in The Moon Embraces the Sun. The screenplay for YFAS was also inconsistent with bursts of delightful genius wrapped mostly in derivative tripe masquerading as brilliance. That rocks my pet peeve, really dull stuff claiming to be smart and creative. But it’s undeniable the massive hit YFAS turned out to be and its ongoing influence on audiences across Asia in starting trends like chicken and beer and making Kim Soo Hyun into a godlike heartthrob. Being a successful Hallyu drama in Asia is a worthy accomplishment and now YFAS is about to be tossed in a much bigger pond with breaking news that ABC has optioned the drama for a US remake.

It’s the story of a centuries old alien named James who is disillusioned with human existence and just biding his time to return to his own planet but ends up falling for the bratty actress next door named Lark and ends up being her protector. James and Lark? LOLOLOL I just can’t. Original screenwriter Park Ji Eun is onboard the US remake as an executive producer along with a Korean co-producer from the production company HB Entertainment which owns the rights to the K-drama. A total of three production companies will have its hands in the US remake, along with HB Entertainment will be Sony Pictures and EnterMedia Contents. This news make YFAS the most high profile Korean show to get a US remake, earlier this year KBS‘s Good Doctor got picked up for a US version, last year ABC indicated it was remaking the cable cult hit Nine: Nine Times Travels, and Grandpas Over Flowers is being used as the format basis for a US variety show. Continue reading

Han Ye Seul Signs with KeyEast and in Talks for Weekend Drama Birth of a Beauty with Joo Sang Wook

Maybe I should write more about K-celebs that have been out of the limelight for some time because lo and behold a week after I wondered when Han Ye Seul would finally come back to acting she’s dropping a twofer on the industry. This week comes news that Leslie has signed with KeyEast Entertainment after being with SB Entertainment for the last few years. SB is a subsidiary of Verdi Media and also reps Yeon Jung Hoon among other Korean stars. KeyEast is, of course, the agency owned by Yonsama (Bae Yong Joon) and was flying high having built up the careers of Kim Soo Hyun and Kim Hyun Joong only to recently crash down to earth with the Chinese bottled water debacle with Kim Soo Hyun and the domestic abuse allegations against Kim Hyun Joong. Netizens are already having a field day since Han Ye Seul is still tagged as the runaway actress after Spy Myung Wol so her joining KeyEast is seen as quite apropos since it’s home to quite a few scandal tarred celebs.

In addition to the two Kims mentioned earlier, KeyEast also has Joo Ji Hoon who is still climbing out of the residual stain of his pot arrest years ago. I think Yonsama has enough connections and clout to guide his entertainers through low patches and already he’s clearly working wonders because today comes news that Han Ye Seul is in talks to headline the upcoming SBS weekend drama Birth of a Beauty. It’s a weight loss frumpy to beauty tale straight out of the K-movie 200 Pounds Beauty with Kim Ah Joong. A weekend drama would be a good point for Han Ye Seul to get back into the acting game since she’s not the best actress to begin with and being rusty for the last three years clearly is not going to help her craft. Also up for Birth of a Beauty is Joo Sang Wook favorably considering the leading man gig. Han Se Seul with Joo Sang Wook? The pairing never crossed my mind before but visually they would be stunning together. Continue reading