Zheng Shuang becomes the first artist to be publicly blacklisted by regulators

Zheng Shuang

Controversial actress Zheng Shuang, best known for her roles in Meteor Shower, Mural and Love O2O, has been condemned and banned, in writing, from future onscreen appearances by television and film regulator NRTA (formerly SARFT). The actress has been making headlines over the past few days for the use of surrogacy in the US (China has a de facto ban on all forms of surrogacy) and allegedly planning to abandon her children, who are currently in the US with her ex-husband.

The regulators have their own double standards when it comes to blacklisting artists, though this is the first time they have published an official editorial. Her upcoming dramas A Chinese Ghost Story (opposite Hou Minghao) and Masked probably won’t be able to broadcast unless they use AI to replace the actress, much like what The Message and The Glorious Era did after Zhao Lixin was quietly blacklisted.

Producer-screenwriters Guo Jingming, Yu Zheng publicly apologise for plagiarism

L-R: Yu Zheng, Guo Jingming. Image source: Sina Finance

Well isn’t this an entertaining way to end 2020. Popular author / screenwriter / director Guo Jingming‘s second novel Never-flower in Never-dream was found by the court to have plagiarised Zhuang Yu’s In and Out of the Circle in 2003, yet has never admitted or apologised for plagiarism until today. Guo published a Weibo post at 12am describing it as an “unhealable wound” he was “loathe to face”.

Guo Jingming had offered to pay Zhuang Yu all the royalties he earned from selling Never-flower in Never-dream or alternatively if she didn’t accept his offer, he would donate all his profit to charity.

Zhuang Yu accepted his apology, though suggested they create an “Anti-Plagiarism Fund” using all the royalties from the sale of the novels in question instead. Guo Jingming has accepted her offer to create “the fund”.
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30th Golden Eagle Awards

The Golden Eagle Awards has finally decided to untangle its messy awards categories, and created a Best Actor/Actress award where the nominations are mostly based on merit. You can tell they were trying really hard when it came to choosing winners, though it’ll take a few more rounds before the awards are going to regain its reputation.

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Victor Ma got passed by The Maze Runner because his eyes weren’t small enough to be Asian

I know this is old news, but I just saw it today so it’s new to me. Chinese-American singer-actor Victor Ma gave an interview a while ago discussing his Hollywood endeavors, where he says he got passed for roles because he didn’t “look Asian enough.” In particular, he was told his eyes were too large for a role in The Maze Runner (his eyes aren’t even that large compared to most Chinese celebs).

“I auditioned for The Maze Runner. The role went to a Korean-American, his name is Ki Hong Lee. The role was down to me and him. The audition was a last call. The reason why they didn’t want me was first, I was still a minor and it was more difficult to work with night schedules. That’s one thing. Second of all, the casting told me was that “You don’t look Asian enough.” ****. When I asked him why, he told me “Ki-hoon has smaller eyes than yours.” I was like, oh my god, are you kidding me.”

-Victor Ma

This is one topic that I personally find really obvious, but is often difficult to discuss without making it sound like a criticism of certain looks. It’s nice to have someone to actually come out and say it’s definitely true.

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Virtual Film Festival Screenings

Jia Zhangke’s film is one of several Chinese films available at New York Film Festival

If you’re tired of the lack of new releases, consider getting tickets for virtual screenings at some of the world’s biggest film festivals. Most have strong geo-blocking so you can only watch them in the allowed regions. There’s also drive-in tickets for the New York and Toronto if you’re too concerned about the pandemic to go to cinema viewings. All of the festivals have Chinese-language films, although the film I’m mostly excited to see is ChloĆ© Zhao’s Nomadland.

In the U.S.: New York Film Festival
In Canada: TIFF
In Italy: Venice Film Festival
In the UK: London Film Festival

26th Magnolia Awards

Congratulations to Tao Hong for winning Best Supporting Actress! I absolutely loved her in A Little Reunion.

Like all awards, the Magnolia Awards have their own favourites, yet it is the awards show I enjoy watching most because the winners are usually worthy recipients. By all accounts, The Thunder winning Best Drama and Best Screenwriter was probably the biggest surprise of the night. A Little Reunion, Joy of Life and The Longest Day in Chang’an also took home two awards each.

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Celebrity Schedules: July 2020

Luo Yunxi, Immortality

At the beginning of the month many Chinese celebrity workshops will put out a tentative schedule to let fans know what they’re up to.

Here are selected July schedules with what film and drama projects everyone’s attached to. Like June, July is a pretty busy month with almost all A-lister drama actors filming after the coronavirus hiatus.

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June Celebrity Schedules

Luo Yunxi, Immortality

At the beginning of the month many celebrity workshops will put out a tentative schedule to let fans know what they’re up to. Here’s June’s with what film projects everyone’s attached to. Partly due to a pause in filming due to the coronavirus, June is a pretty busy month with almost all A-lister drama actors filming.

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Zhou Dongyu, Yi Yangqianxi’s Better Days sweeps the Hong Kong Film Awards

Soul Mate director Derek Tsang’s coming-of-age crime film Better Days won a whopping eight awards at the 39th Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenwriters, Best Actress, Best New Actor (Yi Yangqianxi), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Original Theme Song.

Best Actress winner Zhou Dongyu is now one step closer to achieving the grand slam of Chinese cinema (Golden Rooster / Golden Horse / HKFA), a feat that has only been accomplished by Zhou Xun and Zhang Ziyi.

Congratulations to the entire crew!