Tangren Adapts Duke of Mount Deer with Hu Ge and Nicky Wu as the Leads

While no official confirmation has been released thus far, the chatter on Weibo have pretty much confirmed that Tangren Production‘s next drama will be an adaptation of Louis Cha‘s (Jing Yong) last and most iconic novel Duke and the Cauldron (also known as Duke of Mount Deer). While Tangren’s completed Qing dynasty time travel drama Bu Bu Jing Xing remains mired in an uncertain fate due to the glut of time-travel dramas to hit the C air waves, most of which stomp all over historical accuracy and them poop on it a few more times for good measure, it’s decided to move ahead with an even more ambitious drama in the meantime.

While Duke is merely my second favorite LC novel, even I concede that it was his crowning achievement, the most dense, rich, and sophisticated novel to come from his pen. Other than the 1984 TVB adaptation of Duke with Tony Leung as rascally protagonist Wei Xiao Bao and Andy Lau as youthful sovereign Emperor Kangxi, no other Duke adaptation has managed to find actors suited for the roles and produced a drama as gripping as the novel. I thought the latest Duke adaptation, Royal Tramp 2008 starring Huang Xiaoming as Xiao Bao and Wallace Chung as Kang Xi has the most magnificent visual scenary but the acting and execution was a middling mess. So when I heard who Tangren cast, I did a headdesk and then started swearing – Hu Ge as We Xiao Bao and Nicky Wu as Emperor Kang Xi.

While I genuinely like Hu Ge, and have a soft spot for Nicky, the two of them are so utterly and completed miscast here I don’t even know where to begin. I can see Hu Ge as Kang Xi, actually, but Nicky is all wrong for either character. He’s just too old now. Huang Xiaoming mugged his way through Royal Tramp 2008, mistaking exaggerated facial expressions for acting, and I worry Hu Ge will resort to the same methodology since he’s just not convincing as either playful or sleazy, and Xiao Bao is both. Sigh, this news makes me so disappointed you have no idea. Liu Shi Shi is also onboard (my bet – Ah Ke), and expect to see most of the cast from Bu Bu Jing Xing back together for this DoMD adaptation.

Tony did it best – the role which launched him into super-stardom.

Jordan Chan was serviceable, but he never became Xiao Bao.

Dicky Cheung was just doing what he does best – using physical comedy in lieu of emoting.

Huang Xiaoming was simply too handsome to have been Xiao Bao, also lacking in acting subtlety, though he did sell the sleazy part quite well.

And lest you think I hate on Hu Ge, I think he was brilliantly cast as Guo Jing in Tangren’s adaptation of Legend of the Condor Heroes 2008, and I think Hu Ge could perhaps play other LC characters, such as Zhang Wu Zi or Hu Fei. But as Wei Xiao Bao – I cannot for the life of me see that working out.

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Tangren Adapts Duke of Mount Deer with Hu Ge and Nicky Wu as the Leads — 11 Comments

  1. Yes!! Tony Leung as Wei Xiao Bao will always be the benchmark!! He was so darn good! I haven’t re-watched it since I was a kid but I remember how much I enjoyed the show&how entertaining Tony was.

    Of course, another one of his performance which I remember from way back then was in the New Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre. I think that was the first time the young me learnt&understood the meaning of ‘hotness’. It was almost like I heard bells ringing in the background when he literally sprang out from a huge-ass cauldron (supposedly filled with medicinal goodness…).

    Back to the Duke of Mount Deer though, did you manage to catch the Stephen Chow parody Royal Tramp?? It’s no art but great for a cheap laugh.. Each time I see ζž—ι’ιœžwith the ridiculous, phallic up-do, I can’t help but snigger a lil (darn my juvenile sense of humour!).

    • yes to that tony leung was THE BEST actor for both the duke and heavenly sword . as for jordan chan’s version i have to say it was painful to watch since the way he delivered the dialogue was too awkward/weird for such an iconic historical drama.

  2. Wow, the novel sounds like just my thing…do you know if/where there is an English translated version?

    • yes, John Minford translated it into English, the title is “The Deer and the Cauldron”. it has three volumes, and you should be able to find it on amazon.

  3. I thought that they were only filming for an online video game advertisement, not an actual drama? Or have I mistaken? Well, I really hope they don’t plan on filming a drama with Hu Ge and Nicky as the leads. I don’t like the character Wei Xiao Bao at all, and Hu Ge is definitely not suitable for the role.

  4. Sometimes I don’t see a point in these new adaptations every several years. I know it’s to reintroduce the story to a new generation with a fresh set of eyes, but the current adaptations don’t usually beat the first one. I still enjoy them though! πŸ™‚

    • I just wished that they had stopped it with the adaptations. YES, the original novels were great, but just too overdone! If it were 1x/every 10-15 years, I might be able to accept that, since a new GENERATION of actors/actresses may offer new and innovative perspectives. But 1x/2-3 years? No way! For me, that’s just a sign of creativity waning in the Chinese drama industry.
      Now I wonder, were there any other historical novels that may not have been as popular/widely-received as the “Big 4” (the four grest classical novels – check it out on wiki if you’re curious), but still worthy of an adaptation?

  5. Koala, I totally agreed with you on casting Hu Ge as Wei Xiao Bo. I don’t know how he will fair in the character. And yes definitely Tony Leung Chiu Wai is and will the best person that had played that character. So all the version that I had watched no one can beat Tony Leung.

    As for the Emperor Kangxi, Nicky Wu will be too old, according to the novel Emperor and Xiao Bao almost the same age. How can Nicky and Hu Ge jive? If Tangren stick to the casting just hope they work out good. God Bless.

  6. It’s not an adaptation of the book. It’s a minimovie/commercial for a video game based on the book. Kind of like what Tangren did with the cast of Chinese Paladin 3 for Fantasy Zhu Xian.

    Tangren’s next project is an adaptation of a book/video game.

  7. YES! thx for your reviews, i totally agree with you

    I just finished watching 2008 version and found it so disappointing. I dunno if it’s just me or if everyone else feels like the story’s way stretched and there are tons of overly done details. Xiaoming doesn’t provide the Wei Xiaobao “feel” i hoped to see and at times i feel like his comedic acting was a poor immitation of stephen chow’s. Honestly the only thing that kept me watching was the girls (lol)

    While i agree that Tony Leung was the best WXB, i just couldn’t bear watching the series again and see err… non-pretty (sorry couldn’t find less offensive description lol) women playing the parts of supposedly very beautiful women. But since everyone’s saying how great it is, i guess i’ll rerun it

    I watched the Dicky Cheung version sabout 10 years ago & recalled it was quite entertaining even though i never liked Dicky whom i felt cheaply trying to immitate stephen chow’s acting (no offense :D)

    I’ll close with a question; having never read the novels, which version is the closest adaptation? coz i remembered each version has slightly different stories

    Thx!

  8. Dicky version’s was best in my opinion, and the girls in the series were the most beautiful of all the duke of mount deer remakes

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