Netflix to produce futuristic “Water Margin” film

Deadline has reported that Netflix has signed on Kingdom-director Shinsuke Sato and Deepwater Horizon-writer Matt Sand for a futuristic adaptation of Chinese novel The Water Margin, a tale of 108 outlaws forced into rebellion by the failing Song government loosely based on historical figures. Unlike Netflix’s The Three Body Trilogy that at least has Ken Liu, this one so far has no Chinese names attached. But hey, at least it’s one step closer to my dream cyberpunk Jin Yong film.

Random fact in case the casting director sees this: the average young male from Shandong, where the story is set and most of the characters are from, is taller than one from the U.S. The most famous Shandongnese actresses look like this and this. Please don’t just cast people who fit your false stereotypes (but please do cast Asians for the roles).

4 thoughts on “Netflix to produce futuristic “Water Margin” film

  1. In before they film it in Japan, cast Japanese actors, have them speak Japanese, wear Japanese clothes, all to make people think that Water Margin is a Japanese story. People already think stuff like jiaozi, weiqi, lamian are Japanese, and since the vast majority of people in the world don’t really care about fine details like which country is the origin of certain things, if they do end up speaking Japanese in the movie then this will be another one of those cases as well.

    This is my own anecdotal experience but I noticed that Japan and Korea have been poaching elements of Chinese culture these past few decades and presenting them as their own, while disingenuously depicting China in their own media as uncultured and unoriginal. For example It seems like in their minds Chinese history only consists of the Qing Dynasty and communism and whenever historical related media that doesn’t feature Manchurian queues, frog buttons or qipaos come out from China, at best people say they look Japanese/Korean (which isn’t necessarily malicious but still very irritating because it should be the other way around), and at worst Chinese people get accused of copying their culture which is such an astronomically bad take. It’s like some of these people are actively trying to separate Chinese people from their own history and culture, while vehemently pushing the image that China is some backwards copycat nation. I’ve seen this happen both IRL and online and it’s really eye-opening to know just how much misinformation is out there.

    I am against cultural exclusivity, I don’t believe that only people from their own respective backgrounds have the right to depict their own culture. IMHO as long as it’s well researched, treated with respect and the culture they’re making stuff about is properly credited, and provided that they have a genuine desire to make it, I feel like anyone can make stuff about any culture, however more often than not it turns out pretty awful because people don’t really care about those things. Seeing how Chinese culture has been treated these years I’m very wary about this news, maybe I’ll be proven wrong and this movie turns out completely fine but seeing as it’s being produced by Netflix with a Japanese director just makes me think that this is just another case of poaching and they’re gonna to present it and market it as a Japanese movie.

    In any case, seeing as they aren’t even in pre-production yet, I hope they make the right decisions but really I don’t have any hope for this movie lmao.

    • nah, they won’t even cast Japanese people. It will just be the usual Hollywood type of casting (hint: no Asians in prominent roles). And they already got the Japanese director as a shield to deflect accusations of whitewashing and cultural appropriation (“look we got an Asian as the director so it’s not cultural appropriation”).

  2. Water Margin in English?! I could barely get the names straight watching the 2011 Chinese drama. Good thing the cast was quite diverse in appearance and had good acting chops. Would bad in many ways if it were an all-idol version.

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