Hunan Television has acquired the rights to re-produce Colombia’s telenovela hit, and the first season of “Ugly Wudi,” a Chinese adaptation of the Colombia comedy drama “Betty La Fea,” also remade in the US as Betty Ugly, is slated to debut on September 28. The protagonist, Lin Wudi, made her first public appearance last Tuesday.

Though the actress wears black-framed glasses and ill-fitting braces like the other Betty, her image was largely dismissed by the audience because she is not ugly enough. Audiences hold the view that the “ugly girl” is beautiful, with a normal figure, big eyes and long hair, aside from the deliberate ugly costuming. My own personal opinion, after seeing her face splashed on Sina before I knew who she was getting a big shock, is that she is, indeed ugly enough for the part, even if the ugliness is fake. For the mainland industry who has never been overly concerned with looks over talent, it seems unlikely they would start now when the quest is to fill the role of someone’s whose moniker is preceded by the adjective “ugly”.

This endeavor into remaking a foreign show, a burgeoning new trend for China as seen by last month’s Prince of Tennis, a Chinese live-action of the popular Japanese manga, is helmed by China’s Hunan Television, which produced the phemonomenally sucessfull Super Girl and always a leader in China’s most new popular shows for the younger generations looking for alternatives to CCTV’s more serious dramas with moral messages.

While the lead is being played by an unknown (literally unknown as of right now since her name is not being revealed until the show’s debut) bigger stars are likely to cameo in the show, Chen Xiaodong, the show’s producer has said. The playwright team is being led by Sheng Heyu, writer of Feng Xiaogang’s hit film “The Banquet.” The Chinese adaptation boasts a budget of 150 million yuan (US$21 million). Shooting is slated to begin next month. It will have five seasons, or a total of 400 episodes, also a deviation from most Chinese shows which run from usually 20-40. It is an interesting look at what may be the future for Chinese television.

Original Source: http://english.cri.cn/3086/2008/09/17/2001s406281.htm

One thought on “First Look at China’s Own Ugly Betty”

  1. Accidentally saw this today, Cfensi’s first news post! It reminded me how amazing the rise of mainland TV has been in the past eight years.

    I still remember when I first came to Cfensi and all the biggest idols from Greater China were Taiwanese (used to be HK back in the 90’s). There were almost no idol dramas from the mainland back then. Even this post said that mainland was not “overly concerned with looks over talent” (which is no longer true, but it’s a big market that both looks and talents can thrive).

    Sometimes I want to complain about the industry, but then I look at posts like this and am reminded that there are so many talented and motivated individuals who made this industry happen in less than a decade, and it’s only going to get better. From Ancient Sword two years ago to Nirvana in Fire last year and the trailer for Storm of Prophecy this year, the improvements just from year to year are remarkable. I’m excited to see what the future has in hold. <3

    Also, who knew back in 2008 that the sassy Chen Jiaming in Ugly Wudi would become one of my favorite actors?

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