Using the “Superboys”.
I’ll update this post and this site with more details as I get them.
I was always wondering if mainland China would film its own Hana Yori Dango. If you follow mainland Chinese television, you quickly come to find that there are the state-wide CCTV productions, which like expensive big-budget series with casts that attended drama universities, etc and then there are the provincial productions like Hunan TV who don’t get quite as much money, but don’t have the restraints CCTV does, about providing moralistic drama with meaning, etc. If China were to have a large amount of meaningless idol dramas, they would come from these local, provincial level stations. So here we are, at the possibility of Hunan remaking Meteor Garden using their “Superboys” aka “Kuai Le Nan Sheng” (the Chinese American Idol-type series for those of you who don’t get my constant references to this).
After the success of Ugly Wudi, Hunan TV is looking for something else easily remade. Well, what’s easier to remake than Hana Yori Dango, which has become a classic in both Taiwan, spawning a wave of manga-remakes there, and in Japan. Not to mention the currently in production Korean one. After hearing this announcement, the netizens went crazy saying “Hunan TV is so talented!”. Yeah, there are not that many idol dramas in China.
It seems they’re going to remove the school violence, and they’re going to be in college. They want Wei Chen, Yu Haoming and Chen Chusheng, but will not accept them if they are not right for the role. Superboys TV host Xie Na expressed interest as Shan Cai (Tsukushi) but they kind of said she was too old. Zhang Hanyu was considered, but apparently not the right personality, not enough charisma. They at first wanted to film in Shanghai but now are looking at either the coastal cities of Xiamen or Zhuhai to film.
Let’s look at the suggested cast and their sappy MVs instead to see if they’re right for the roles. :D
Chen Chusheng was rumored for the cast before since he won the Superboys competition probably and would draw a lot of viewership, but no longer. Watch this to see why. He’s got a great voice and has composed excellent songs, but he’s the furthest thing from someone in an idol series as you could get.
Update: Han Geng has a “70%” chance (see comments below) of being in this.
So who would be the fourth? I nominate Wang Yuexin, my favorite. And yes, you’re going to jail for looking at the below picture.
I have a feeling if this does push through, Yu Haoming will definitely get the lead role like he has in the “Superboys” musical and if he does and starts an acting career, he can be a really big triple threat coupled with his looks, singing, and dancing skills.
It is stated in some articles that Han Geng is Domyoji and Yu Haoming is Rui. No word on what Wei Chen would be but he has stated that after reading the manga, he would like to be cast as Rui/Hua Zhelei because his personality is similar to him. Wei Chen has been in acting three movies so far (all unreleased as of now or still in production) and a play. He most certainly has the most experience. It would be a shame if he weren’t Rui because he is very similar to Rui, but with his acting experience he probably could pull off someone else too. Hopefully.
Ariel Lin was supposedly in talks to take the role of Shan Cai/Makino but came out and said that since she’d be in a new series with Jerry Yan, she would definitely not be available and did not know how everyone thought she would be. Wu Zun is also in talks for the role of Domiyoji although I think it’s doubtful Wu Zun will get the role.
The most current rumours are that they want Guo Jingming as Lei/Rui. Guo Jingming is the best selling author in all of China, and not only has he published numerous best selling books, but also owns his own Youth-oriented magazine. This rumor seems plausible because he is in talks to join EEmedia, the company that manages Hunan TV-made stars. He has already written many lyrics for the singers under EEmedia.
It’s interesting. Taiwan has always been the place that remade Japanese manga, but now there seems to be a trend in mainland China as well. Earlier this year, China got its first remake of a “Manga” with Prince of Tennis starring the “My Hero” guys that Shanghai TV produced (since My Hero was on that station). Is this really going to be a trend? I don’t know but I think ratings are what count. To give an honest opinion though, I think this will be fun, but not really a decent version of Meteor Garden. Like with Prince of Tennis, this series is being made to suit the cast, not the manga and I don’t see them really caring about source material. Also, like I said, Hunan TV doesn’t have that much money to spend. I don’t know if I would like this as a trend, but like with the boybands, as long as it doesn’t stop China from making the quality productions it normally does, then I don’t see why not.
Edit: Someone, pointed out to me that this is the same station who brought Princess Returning Pearl to the world, the series that made Vicki Zhaowei, Alec Su, Ruby Lin, and Fan Bingbing international stars and the series that helped spawn Korea’s protectionist quota system on foreign series because it was so popular there. Plus, its Ugly Wudi is a very well-scripted success showing that it still retains the same comedic scriptwriting genius that it once possessed. And it was also a remake changed to fit Chinese audiences, which means that the changes I was fearing earlier might not be so bad. That gives me a lot of hope for this series now, so looking forward to it!