Zhao Wei to Direct “Huan Zhu Ge Ge” Animated Film

Zhao Wei and Ruby Lin in Huan Zhu Ge Ge
“I wonder what we’ll look like as cartoons?”

18 years after Huan Zhu Ge Ge (还珠格格) won over the hearts of viewers across China, leading actress Zhao Wei will return to the story that catapulted her to fame. Alibaba Pictures recently announced that it will release an animated film adaptation of Huan Zhu Ge Ge, with Zhao Wei taking on the role of director.

In recent years, many popular dramas have been adapted for the silver screen, causing fans to wonder if Huan Zhu Ge Ge would earn similar treatment. In 2014, news reports claimed that Alibaba Pictures had purchased the rights to adapt the novel into a film. Because of Zhao Wei’s close ties with Alibaba founder Jack Ma, it was strongly believed that she would support the project by participating in the movie in some way.

However, in the two years since, there has been little to no news regarding the rumored animated film — until now. Yesterday, Alibaba CEO Zhang Qiang unexpectedly announced that preparations for the movie would begin this year, and that the company planned to present the story as an animated film.

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Jet Li opens a kung fu school

Jet Li speaks at the opening of Taiji Zen martial arts school.
Jet Li speaks at the opening of Taiji Zen martial arts school.

Action movie star Jet Li and online retail tycoon, Jack Ma, have joined forces to found a martial arts school. The new academy was unveiled in Hangzhou, hometown of Ma, who stepped down as CEO of Alibaba Group last week to focus on education and the environment. (more…)