Three billion RMB trilogy Fengshen announces cast

Most leads for the films are newcomers who have trained for six months in horseback riding, martial arts, archery, drumming, ancient Chinese music and etiquette for the film.

Wu’ershan(Painted Skin 2)-directed fantasy epic trilogy Fengshen, loosely based on the Investiture of the Godshas released the first set of character posters. Other than Chen Kun, the trilogy will star Huang Bo as Jiang Ziya, Li Xuejian as King Wen of Zhou, Xia Yu as Shen Gongbao, Kris Phillips as King Zhou of Shang, and introduces newcomers Hai Liang as King Yin Jiao and Yu Shi as King Wu of Zhou.

With 2000 crew members and a budget of over 3 billion RMB (445 USD), the trilogy is China’s biggest pre-budgeted film series yet.

The film’s meticulous aesthetic draws on Song dynasty landscape paintings, 16th-century Daoist art and elements from the Bronze Age Shang and Zhou eras. Elaborately carved screens and lintels, delicate jade bowls, chariots, leather armor and weaponry fill the studio’s soundstages and storage rooms. 

“I wanted every piece to be museum-quality,” Wuershan says. “We developed everything ourselves via an analysis of Shang objects, so even though it looks very antique, it’s actually all original.” 

Variety interview with director Wu’ershan
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I Am A Singer Ep. 8: Li Tarzan, Shoo Jane

A peculiarly dressed Jane Zhang is eliminated from the competition.
A peculiarly dressed Jane Zhang is eliminated from the competition. Who comes up with these headlines?

It was the Lunar New Year holiday last week, so our seven favourite singers have wandered off for a bit (happy new year to all of Cfensi’s wonderful readers, by the way).

Jane Zhang is in Beijing, not wearing make-up but still looking pretty, and preparing dinner. She says she hasn’t cooked in a long time. That’s probably why she holds her knife like she’s ironing a shirt. But I imagine she hasn’t ironed for herself in a long time either.

Sun Nan is in Sanya on Hainan Island, the “Hawaii of China,” where he demonstrates everything wrong with the Chinese entertainment industry today.
1) That’s a very wrong way of doing push-ups (Chinese celebrities don’t work out enough)
2) Vertical filming (there aren’t enough good cameramen working in Chinese television)

Awkwardly humping the sand is not a push-up.
Awkwardly humping the sand is not a push-up.

Tan Weiwei, like Jane, is in Beijing, drinking vegetable soup and munching on a carrot from a cardboard bowl. Her manager complains that she needs to eat more than just vegetables so she can put on weight.

The One is back in Korea, bringing Xiao Wu with him. They’ve ordered a whole stack of bento-like, dosirak takeout boxes, and The One is doing an awful lot of talking with his mouth full. You’d think all these celebrities would get nice fancy meals, but not so much.

A-Lin is in Taiwan, where she bumps into unsuccessful I Am A Singer challenger Li Ronghao. “Hey, you’re back?” he asks, reasoning that A-Lin must have been eliminated.
“I’m back!” she replies, perhaps not really getting that. She then bumps into Karen Mok, who says nice things to her, but is very clearly aware of who is the real A-lister between the two (it’s not A-Lin).

We don’t get to see Li Jian or Han Hong’s Spring Festival outings. Mysterious.

The I Am A Singer green room has a Chinese New Year tree with presents underneath it. I hope this doesn’t become a thing. I’m probably getting to that age where people feel comfortable about not getting you presents, so there’s no way I will benefit from this.
Oh, and Sun Nan takes over as host from Leo Ku, thus answering the question I’ve been asking for the past two weeks. But now who will host when Sun Nan leaves?


Han Hong
Olive Tree 橄榄树 by Chyi Yu

This episode is spending a lot of time on the introduction to this performance. Firstly, Tan Weiwei discovers that Han Hong is singing Olive Tree by Chyi Yu. “People always recommend that I sing this song, but I don’t dare to,” she says, citing the rhythm and timing of the song. “It’s really difficult.”
Meanwhile, Anson is helping out Han Hong with the arrangement. It’s probably part of his secret plan to get as much screentime as he can now so that the audience will vote him back in in the comeback round. Isn’t that the plot of the Chicago?

Han Hong tells the story of how her father died when she was young and her mother remarried. After that, she ran away to Beijing to find her grandmother, and hasn’t been with her mother since then. When her grandmother passed away, Han Hong was by herself, with no direction and no roots. Despite all this, there is still an olive tree in her heart, she says. That raises some horticultural questions.

Fellow Tibetan-ish singer Yangjima sang this song on Chinese Idol, where Han Hong is a judge. The performances are completely different so it’s hard to compare, but Han Hong’s is vocally more impressive. I can’t tell if her shoes are gold, or if they’re silver and it’s just the lighting that makes them look gold. The timing of the pause at the end is slightly off when the band starts playing before Han Hong starts singing. Tan Weiwei totally saw that coming. (more…)

Movie Recap: Painted Skin II – The Resurrection, part two

This was so pretty I had to include it.

This was so pretty I had to include it.

Look here for some golden stills from a scene that was cut from the movie (it’s the scene after young Princes Jing wakes up from her accident). Regardless of what you think of the movie’s plot and character development, there was an awful lot of eye-candy…

Anyway, Painted Skin II – the Resurrection, part two: 
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Movie Recap: Painted Skin II – The Resurrection, part one

Starring Zhou Xun as the fox demon Xiaowei, Zhao Wei as the Princess Jing, Chen Kun as General Huo Xin, Yang Mi as Qu’er (who I call Birdie), Feng Shaofeng as the demon exorcist, Chen Tingjia as the chieftess of the Tianlang Clan, and Fei Xiang as the Voldemort-With-A-Nose, Painted Skin II became the highest grossing domestic film in China with its release in the summer. I can’t screen cap the movie because the version I’m using is too low quality (I did watch it in HQ at the theater), so what pictures you find will be stills I find online. Part Two of the recap will be up next week.

The desert fox reawakens.

Five hundred years ago, a fox demon saved a mortal man’s life and thus broke the laws of the demon world. As punishment, she was trapped in an icy prison (more…)