Zhang Ji Zhong
I know what you’re gonna say: “Again?!!” Yep. Because Jin Yong is the only author in China. *snarks*
But Zhang Ji Zhong, one of the famed producers (and directors) in China, isn’t new to Jin Yong. Some of you might even remember his name in various productions’ credits. Popular works under his name include Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Water Margin, Return of the Condor Heroes 2006, and Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils 2003, to name a few. And of course, you can’t say he didn’t play a part in propelling the careers of Huang Xiao Ming & Liu Yi Fei. So newbies must be auditioning desperately to snatch a role in the upcoming series.
And the lucky actors to be cast so early in the game are Yida Cai and Jenny Zhang. I don’t know who Yida is (you?) but he’s rather new and green and has been in a few series and movies. One that stood out to me is the epic Legend of Chu and Han in 2012. Lady Luck must have been looking down on him because he’s playing twin brothers in the story, the main protagonists who couldn’t be any more different. One is a sly womanizer with a humble background, Shi Zhong Yu, while the other one is a quiet, upright leader of the Changle Sect, Shi Po Tian. One is often mistaken for the other, which allows for amusing dialogues and awkward situations. Jenny Zhang may be the first girl to be included but her role hasn’t been finalized. Unlike Yida, her line of works are more extensive, she was in The Patriot Yue Fei, Palace 3 and many more.
Ode to Gallantry has been adapted into TV series 3 times, the most popular being TVB’s version in 1989 called Hap Hak Hang with a spectacular line-up in Tony Leung, Sheren Tang, and Bobby Au Yeung. Who has watched this series? I don’t think I have…
But any series with Tony Leung as the lead is worth watching. The man is made of a few words but his acting never fails to impress me. I can already imagine him being flirty and getting all the girls, like how he did it in The Duke of Mount Deer. But to play a total different twin brother is tough on any actor, as not many can seamlessly embrace a new set of personality. Best of luck to you, Yida Cai.
Directors are Chung Siu Hung (Heroes in Sui and Tang Dynasties) and Zhao Jian (Return of the Condor Heroes 2006, Legend of the Condor Heroes 2003).
Filming begins May 1st.