Yu Zheng’s variety show Real Actor is all about improvisation

Screenwriter / Director Yu Zheng and mentors Zhang Jingchu, Francis Ng, Zhang Songwen

The first episode of Real Actor 演技派 is all about the fundamentals of acting, and runs through the auditions and evaluations of 30 up-and-coming actors in just over 2 hours. The scenarios Zhang Songwen gives the actors does a great job of revealing their strengths and weaknesses as they are forced to perform on the spot.

Francis Ng doesn’t mince his words but his honest opinions are definitely a breath of fresh air. Yu Zheng will probably have more to do in future episodes, as the final twelve actors will be competing for roles in his variety show-drama Royal Kitchen in the Qing Dynasty 紫禁城里的小食光.

The actors I’m looking forward to seeing more of: Wang Yuwen, Lamu Yangzi, Fan Jinwei, Wu Jiayi, Zhang Lula

Mid-series review: Novoland: Eagle Flag

Novoland: Eagle Flag is a show that attempts to chronicle the journey of three young heroes who go from naïve youngsters to rulers in their own right. I say attempt only because at the time of writing this review, the one character that seems to be getting a proper and logical growth arc is Ji Ye (Chen Ruoxuan), and even his arc is written in such a way that the character takes one step forward and two steps backward. Lv Guichen (Liu Haoran) is still the just and benevolent savior, though his resurrection should help drive the character forward. That being said, I still find the show riveting enough to watch every single episode, which doesn’t happen very often these days.

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Bai Lu plays a Republican-era Mulan in latest drama with Xu Kai

Will Xu Kai and Bai Lu recreate their chemistry from The Legends?

The Legends stars Xu Kai and Bai Lu team up once more in Arsenal Military Academy 烈火军校, a Republican era military drama written by Xiaoxiangdong’er (Princess Agents). Bai Lu plays a Republican-era Mulan who disguises herself as a man to join the military academy in place of her older brother. There, she proves herself to the other students and probably ends up saving China.

The series, which released a new trailer and character posters today, is set for an August 6th release online. The good-looking cast also includes Wu Jiayi, Li Chengbin, Gao Yu’er, Shao Bing, An Yuexi, Dong Li, Yin Zheng, and Zuo Xiaoqing.

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Xu Kai, Li Yitong, Tan Jianci cast in Tang dynasty panorama

Not caving into the recent trend of looking to Japan for inspiration for Tang Dynasty aesthetics is a focus of the drama, how well do the first stills do?

Aiming to be a panorama of early Tang dynasty life, the latest Yu Zheng-produced drama features merchants, pirates, the military, and princes finding love and success in the early Tang dynasty.  Based on the script by author Fengnong, A Promenade through the Tang Dynasty 大唐女儿行 (lit:  Promenade of Women in the Tang Dynasty)  began filming earlier this month with a young cast consisting of Xu Kai (The Legends) , Li Yitong (Bloody Romance), Tan Jianci (Secrets of the Three Kingdoms) , Fan Shiqi (Where the Lost Ones Go), Wu Jiayi ( Untouchable Lovers), and Jiang Mengjie (Sword Master) . The series has already been brought by Hong Kong channel TVB.

Xu Kai plays Cheng Chumo, the son of Cheng Yaojin and a profligate youth who chooses to make a name for himself after falling in love with Fu Rou (Li Yitong).    While he goes to fight pirates in the open waters, Fu Rou leaves behind her merchant family to become a master weaver in the palace.  There, she meets Prince Li Ke (Tan Jianci) and Marines General Yan Zifang and becomes entangled in the fight for the Crowned Prince. Fan Shiqi plays Cheng Chumo’s brother while Wu Jiayi plays his love interest, the Princess Qinghe.  Ma Yue and Miao Pu play the Emperor Li Shimin and the Empress Zhangsun. Together, the protagonists must fight on all fronts to save their families and the future of the Tang Dynasty.

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Zhaoge stills

Some of this is okay… others is just too much…

Zhaoge 朝歌 released more stills.  Starring Zhang ZhehanBao JianfengLin YouweiWu Jiayi, and Liu Mintao, more for those interested in seeing how the costuming turned out.

More below the cut.

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Zhaoge releases production video

Despite the costumes not being exactly historically accurate, I think it’s nice to have some originality done in a good way every now and again.

Zhaoge 朝歌 released more stills.  Starring Zhang ZhehanBao JianfengLin YouweiWu Jiayi, and Liu Mintao, a production video has also been released for those interested.

More below the cut.

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Zhaoge releases first stills

Some of these images actually have really interesting details you can go looking for.

Zhaoge 朝歌 released stills.  Starring Zhang ZhehanBao JianfengLin YouweiWu Jiayi, and Liu Mintao, those interested in the stylized costuming from last post can get a look at the actual costumes in action.

More below the cut.

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