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.

Actors I’m looking forward to seeing more of include Wu Jiayi, Lamu Yangzi, Wang Yuwen and Fan Jinwei (their skit at 1:22:51 is adorable) and Zhang Lula.

Tencent’s new acting variety show releases stills of contestants

Peng Xiaoran (Goodbye My Princess) reenacting Chen Kaige’s Legend of the Demon Cat

Tencent’s upcoming big-budget acting variety show Attention, Actors 演员请就位 (lit.) has hired directors Li Shaohong (Palace of Desires, Dream of Red Mansions 2010), Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, Legend of the Demon Cat), Guo Jingming (Tiny Times, L.O.R.D) and Zhao Wei (So Young) as judges who will assemble their own team from a group of 58 actors.

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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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Court Lady releases screencaps

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.

Rather than stills, A Promenade through the Tang Dynasty 大唐女儿行 (lit:  Journey or Outing of Women in the Tang Dynasty) released a new set of screencaps to better showcase what the drama will actually look like.   The Yu Zheng production stars Li Yitong (Bloody Romance) and  Xu Kai (The Legends) in a panorama of early Tang dynasty life.

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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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Huang Xiaoming, Yin Zheng star in boy love Peking Opera adaptation

Yin Zheng and Huang Xiaoming play a pair of starcrossed lovers (?) in the latest drama by Yu Zheng.

Producer Yu Zheng makes his foray in adapating boylove novels with Winter Begonia 鬓边不是海棠红, a Peking opera romance period piece no doubt inspired by Goodbye, My Concubine. Although the series will be written by  the author of the original novel, it’s uncertain how shippy the drama will actually be.  The series stars Huang Xiaoming, Yin Zheng, Charmaine Sheh , Merxat,  and Liu Min.

Set in the 1930’s, the series follows displaced Peking Opera performer Shang Xirui (Yin Zheng) as he moves to Beijing to remake his name.    In his quest to   make a name for himself and reinvent Peking Opera, he captures the eyes of Cheng Fengtai (Huang Xiaoming), a businessman who becomes enthralled by the world of opera.  With the help of Cheng Fengtai,  Shang Xirui is able to rebuild his old opera troupe and train a group of new talents.  When the Japanese army takes of Beijing in 1937, the two must struggle between preserving the art that they love and the city that they love.

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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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