When it rains it pours – for Yuan Hong 2013 is starting to look like his breakout year. He’s already slated to headline the upcoming CCTV period drama Li’s Mansion about a real life epic turn-of-the-century family patriarch, but on top of that he may be attached to an even more hot project. Word on the street has mega-producer Zhang Ji Zhong, the guy who remade all the C-versions of Louis Cha‘s wuxia novels in the last decade and was behind this year’s major adaptation of one of the Four Classics Journey to the West, will be remaking Legend of the White Snake in 2013 just in time for the year of the snake. Zhang Ji Zhong has apparently selected Tong Li Ya for the role of Bai Su Zhen (the White Snake demon in the human form of a beautiful woman), Yuan Hong as male lead Xu Xian (the scholar), and newcomer Wang Xue Er as the Green Snake (the serving maiden and best friend to the White Snake). I love how the C-news never tries to mince words and are reporting that this is Zhang Ji Zhong’s pet project to the launch the career of his god-daughter Wang Xue Er, who he wanted to cast as the White Snake but was finally talked out of it since no one knows who the hell this girl is so staking an entire drama on her is probably not a good idea. I’m not a fan of Zhang Ji Zhong’s directorial style, but there is no arguing the man is a maestro. Earlier this year Tong Li Ya and Yuan Hong were rumored to star in the drama adaptation of writer Fei Wo Si Cun‘s famous work Lonely Court Spring Night (寂寞空庭春欲晚) but that fell through so this if White Snake happens I will be a happy Koala indeed.
Zhang Ji Zhong has allegedly also invited the original flavor White Snake Angie Chao to join this production, playing the role of The Goddess Guan Shi Yin. Everyone knows I adore Yuan Hong so his possible casting gets a major thumbs up from me. As for the two female leads, Tong Li Ya is gorgeous and has the lithe aloofness that I can see in the role of Bai Shu Zhen. Newcomer Wang Xue Er is the great unknown but looks-wise she’s pretty enough and as long as she has chemistry with Tong Li Ya it should work just fine. The legend of the white snake has been around for thousands of years and revolves around a snake demon who has gathered enough power to assume human form. Together with her green snake best friend and handmaiden, they live among the humans with the hopes of doing enough good deeds to become humans forever. The White Snake falls in love with a scholar who also loves her back, but one meddling monk can see her true demon form and vows to break apart the lovers and cast the snake demons into eternal hell. Cue lots of angst.