Zhang Ziyi’s debut drama Monarch Industry premieres today

Ode to Shangyang / Monarch Industry revolves around the life of Wang Xuan (Zhang Ziyi), a noble lady who joins rebel general Xiao Qi (Zhou Yiwei) in unifying the kingdom.

The 68 episode drama will premiere on Youku in 12 hours (Jan 9th 10am CN time). The drama releases 10 episodes this weekend, and 2 episodes every Mon-Wed beginning next week.

Zhang Ziyi BTS, Themesong by Zhou Shen & Hu Xia

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Zhang Ziyi’s debut drama finally begins promotions

Zhang Ziyi’s debut drama Monarch Industry might finally be streaming with the release of a trailer and poster. Newly titled Ode of Shangyang 上阳赋. The trailer has a lot of scenes that remind me of her in previous films, most notably the famous Beauty Dance in House of Flying Daggers. Previous Zhang Yimou leads (Ni Ni, Zhou Dongyu, and Zhang Huiwen) have never really found major success in dramas, and it’ll be interesting to see how this one fares. Her costumes certainly suit her.

Yu Zheng joins Zhang Ziyi as judge on I Am An Actor

Season 4 of I Am An Actor features Zhang Ziyi, Yu Zheng and director Derek Tsang (Soul Mate, Better Days) as the main judges, and actors Zhang Songwen (The Bad Kids), Hao Lei (Sheep Without A Shepherd) and Li Chengru (who is known for being too honest on Tencent’s acting show) as the coaches. To be honest, I’m more interested in the drama and constructive criticism that will be coming from the judge’s corner. Out of the 33 contestants, I’ll be watching out for the talented Liu Duanduan (Joy of Life) and Li Meng (The Bad Kids).

The variety show premieres tonight.

National Day Film Round-Up

Abominable is the first animated film available with Chinese dubs across all theaters in the U.S.

The themes of this National Day week-long break are unsurprisingly patriotism and surprisingly Mount Everest. Here’s the slate of films trying to beat Ne Zha and The Wandering Earth‘s record-breaking numbers this year. All four are available in limited theaters in the U.S. and Canada (and probably New Zealand and Australia).

Abominable, the love letter to Chinese scenery that’s the first film from Pearl Studio, a venture between DreamWorks Animation, China Media Capital, and the Shanghai Media Group. I’ve seen it in English and definitely recommend it. The main characters are very shippable in an Asian drama way, and the imagery is super imaginative.

Note that if you’re in the U.S., you can watch the film with Chinese dubs in theaters by using the Theater Ears app.
Voice actors: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor in English; Zhang Zifeng, Arthur Chen Feiyu, Wan Qian, Cai Qin in Chinese

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Wu Jing takes a literal leap of faith in new trailer for The Climbers

The Climbers 攀登者 tells of the first successful Mt. Everest expedition by Chinese climbers. The star-studded cast includes Wu Jing, Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Yi, Jing Boran, Hu Ge, Wang Jingchun and Jackie Chan.

Directed by Daniel Lee (Time Raiders), the film is slated to premiere on September 30th.

Movie news round-up

Let’s face it, all we really want is a Wu Jing vs Jackie Chan fight.

  • Ma Li will star in buddy comedy written by Karen McCullah (Legally Blond, Ella Enchanted, She’s the Man) . Eva Jin (Sophie’s Revenge) will direct.  (Deadline)
  • The story centers on an unlikely pair of alpha females — Zoe, an American tech entrepreneur who relocates her company to China, and Maylin (Ma), a local female bodyguard who is hired to protect her. When Zoe’s life is threatened, the odd couple must put aside differences and join forces in order to survive.

  • Gong Li signed on to star as volleyball legend Lang Ping in upcoming film. (SCMP)
  • Hu Ge signed on to play coach and husband Jiang Shan in upcoming Li Na epic by Peter Chan. Poster below the cut. (Sina)
  • Avengers and I, Tonya star Sebastian Stan will star in 355, the spy-thriller starring Fan Bingbing, Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o and Penélope Cruz.  Marion Cortillard has dropped out due to personal reasons.  Filming is expected to begin in July (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Zhang Ziyi makes drama debut opposite Zhou Yiwei

Finally an official confirmation – this post has been in the drafts section since 2016…

A-lister Zhang Ziyi (Forever Young), who has worked exclusively in the film industry since her debut in 1999, is starring in upcoming historical romance drama Monarch Industry 江山故人 (one of the worst English titles I’ve ever seen). Zhou Yiwei (Entrepreneurial Age), her ‘mentee’ from variety show Birth of a Performer/Actor plays the male lead.

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Zhang Ziyi, Wu Xiubo, Xu Zheng sign on as judges for season two of acting variety show

The controversial acting variety show I Am An Actor 我就是演员 (previously Birth of a Performer) is back for a second season. Zhang Ziyi is the only remaining judge from the first season, and is joined by dependable uncle actors Wu Xiubo (The Advisors Alliance) and Xu Zheng (Dying to Survive). The variety show airs every Saturday night on Zhejiang TV beginning tomorrow.

This gorgeous promo features Zhang Ziyi looking back on her characters (Wu Xiubo, Xu Zheng):

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