The nth drama adaptation of Return of the Condor Heroes (this one is going to have the 2014 year appended to it to distinguish it from the previous versions) is almost done filming and after four months I can say the long nightmare is wrapping to a close. Producer and troll Yu Zheng has been steadily releasing stills from the drama filming and I’ve only been sparing a cursory glance at it since the end product is a variation of photoshopped to the extreme and still mightily unattractive. Between an earthly rather than heavenly Xiaolongnu played by Michelle Chen sporting hair horns and Chen Xiao as Yang Guo looking like a hobo rather than a iconoclastic hero-in-the-making, I figured this drama would vex me to the end. The latest batch of stills released are different enough to merit a post about not to mention there is fresh controversy again. In the biggest costume and hair change for the leads since the drama filming began, the latest stills are after the 16 year time jump at the end of the book so Yang Guo is now in his 30s and an established warrior hero while Xiaolongnu has been living in a cave for this whole time.
Looks like Michelle Chen really did lose quite a lot of weight during the filming and the end result is evident in these latest stills whereas early one she was still very soft and round. It helps immensely that she’s lost the hair horns and this new hairstyle is relaxed and bland. Yu Zheng has this version of Yang Guo losing his left arm and fans are howling again since he clearly lost his right arm in the book. It’s a critical change since in the book he had to re-learn his martial arts skills with his left hand, but this isn’t the first drama Yang Guo to lost the wrong arm. Both Andy Lau and Louis Koo‘s Yang Guo also lost their left arm and the reason being the actors just can’t effectively perform the martial arts onscreen with their left arm. The only RoCH to correctly have the lead lose the right arm is Huang Xiaoming‘s version. Viewers are also LOLing at Yang Guo’s face mask in this version, which they correctly describe as a flesh-colored felt texture mask that makes him look like he’s doing a facial. Ha! This latest batch of stills finally got a flaming comment from famed C-director Zhang Zi Zhong, he who adapted all of Louis Cha‘s novels in the last decade to well-received drama versions, including the Huang Xiaoming version of RoCH. He posted on his Weibo a scathing rebuke of how RoCH is not some romance novel so why are the leads French kissing after their reunion and where is the grandeur and scale of a story about patriotic and familial ties and duty? Preach it, Zhang Zi Zhong! Even though Yu Zheng could care less and continues to laugh all the way to the bank.