Director Lai wasn’t joking when, after hitting ratings gold with his craptastic drama adaptation of the wuxia novel The Magic Blade, he announced that he was setting his sights even higher and remaking Louis Cha‘s masterpiece Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. Apparently the ninja assassins I sent to kidnap him and brainwash this idea out of his head didn’t work, as the cast and crew commenced filming for the fourth drama adaptation of DGSD this weekend in the high desert plains of Central China. DGSD is one of the most sprawling novels written by Louis Cha, with three parallel story lines with three male leads that dovetail in the middle and form this epic narrative that barrels forward to a thunderous ending. As such, the first half of the drama will have the three male leads pretty much filming independently of each other so its no surprise that we only see main male lead Qiao Feng (Xiao Feng) played by Wallace Chung in costume. I seriously needed a moment to peel myself off the floor with from laughing too hard when I saw Wallace’s get up as the Leader of the Beggar Sect. I’m sorry? Did you change clothes with an ancient Tibetan/Mongolian monk on your way to beg for alms? Otherwise why are you dressed like that, Wallace!?!? This is clearly better than his atrocity of a look in The Magic Blade, but I swear that the heroic Qiao Feng is not supposed to look like an unkempt bum. Knowing this is coming from Director Lai’s hands already has me steeling myself for the myriad unintentional laughs, the jawdropping deviations from the novel canon, and the hamming it up on the acting front from all the leads. Aside from Wallace, the other confirmed leads are Kim Kibum as Duan Yu, Zhang Meng as Wang Yu Yen, and Jia Qing as Ah Zhu. Let the countdown begin!
Above is the first picture taken of the cast and crew on the first day of filming out in the desert. Front and center is male lead Wallace, and next to him is one of the female leads and his onscreen OTP Ah Zhu, played by rising C-actress Jia Qing. Below is a still of her from another period drama she did recently. I’m not familiar with her but as long as she can act decent enough it’ll be a win because I think she looks perfect for the part of Ah Zhu. I totally approve! And the glimpse of her above in purple gets me super excited now! There is some confusion as to whether she is also playing Ah Zi, the younger lookalike sister to Ah Zhu and one of the chief female antagonists in this drama. I personally prefer any adaptation of DGSM to not have the same actress play both roles. The drama can just tell me they look amazingly alike and I’ll believe it. But since everyone from great-grandmothers to babies in their crib loathe Ah Zi to the nth degree, I worry about the visual disconnect seeing the same actress do both roles. Just my 2 cents.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry that Zhang Meng is playing Wang Wu Yen. On one hand that means she barely has any scenes with Wallace and is most definitely not playing his OTP. Their one go-around in The Magic Blade was painful enough for me. On the other hand, the thought of Zhang Meng as the female lead of DGSD gives me a headache. Not to mention she’s playing Kim Ki Bum’s OTP in this drama. Wang Yu Yen is written as one of Louis Cha’s top three most beautiful female leads, and like the other two (Xiaolongnu in Return of the Condor Heroes and Princess Xiang Xiang in The Book and the Sword) I find her equally as inane and vapid of a character. But despite my dislike of her, she plays a useful part in this story which is why I’m a firm believer that the actress cast in this role has to be drop dead gorgeous to sell this character convincingly. Let me put it this way, the last three actresses to play Wang Yu Yen also were cast to play Xiaolongnu in RoCH (Idy Chan in the 80s, Carmen Lee in the 90s, and Crystal Liu in the last decade). Looks wise Zhang Meng can’t even begin to compare with those three great beauties, and I think she’s also a pretty terrible actress, so I have no clue how she’s going to rise to the occasion. Here’s the hoping, because I love DGSD too much to skip this version.
I have to get my eyes checked tomorrow due to overdose of fugly.
Ahhh! Your post made me go rouse up this clip of the 1982 DGSD. It reeks so much of nostalgia I could weep:
I love Wallace Chung but please change something about your beggar look. It’s killing me!
T_T Wang Yu Tan is not my favorite character in here, but I can’t see this girl as Little Dragon Girl. T_T I actually find the girl from Yu Zheng’s Schemes of A Beauty that played Qiao Hui would make a good Wang Yu Yan. I approve of Ah Zhu also, but they need another Ah Zi.
Knew this was bad news when I first heard news about it.
Knowing the PD, this is just his excuse for slash!fic of the fugs.
Lolz I was laughing till I have tears reading that rumored cast list of who’s who. imo even Wallace is a terrible miscast, and he’s the soul of this story even though there’s officially 3 leads. He doesn’t ooze manly aura like a XF and no bronzers slathered on can do the trick.
Let’s laugh together. Between this and Yu Mama’s Swordsman, it’s a bleak day in Jin Yong fandom.
*sigh* and we still have YuMama’s RoCH next and word is this shoddy PD is gonna do a dundundundunnnn~ LoCH13.
and the irony! That’s my fav QF/XF (tying with HuJun)
Actually, I wonder why dramas always cast Ah Zhu and Ah Zhi as lookalike? It’s been some time since I read DGSD the novel but I don’t think in the novel Ah Zhu and Ah Zhi are lookalike at all?
Any for DGSD I don’t really care about the Prince Duan or Xu Zhu. DGSD is all Qiao Feng for me. And his love story with Ah Zhu broke my heart. I think cast wise, the 82 version has the best Qiao Feng and Ah Zhu.
Actually, Ah Zhu and Zhong Ling are supposed to be lookalikes, but Ah Zi supposedly resembles them as well. They are all daughters of Duan Zheng Cun so therein lies the resemblance.
Gosh there goes my fav JY novel and character (Qiao Feng) down the drain! Wallace is good looking but definitely not manly nor buff enough to play the tragically heroic character of QF. I like the character of Ah Zhu in nearly all the adaptations so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the current actress playing her will do a deccent job.
Will definitely keep a look out for this one just for entertainment value alone. Le sigh…
No offense, why do they cast ki bum, when there are plenty capable young chinese actors. I just can’t understand
It’s probably because he looks like Jimmy Lin, who was cast in the 2003 version. There’s this resemblance between the two, especially their smiles. And considering the success of Jimmy Lin’s Duan Yu, they probably thought it was a good idea…
I actually think Zhang Meng is an average actress. She’s not as bad as you think she is. She’s still young needs to experience many other roles as well. I admit most of her characters has not been the best but she’s slowly getting there. She still has plenty of time to get to the top! 🙂 Hopefully soon she will pick the right role in the next few projects.
I really expect Wang Yu Yen to be more beautiful. I haven’t seen her in any of her dramas, maybe she looks better in motion? But that picture does not do Wang Yu Yen’s beauty justice. I can’t see myself falling in love with her at first sight lol. Idy, Carmen and Crystal were beautiful as WYY. Carmen was my favorite. She was so beautiful in the ’97 version.
I think Zhang Meng is great for the role. Has anyone been catching up with In Love With Power/Beauty Without Tears? Although the script is crap, Zhang Meng looks GORGEOUS there, and her acting has definetly improved.