I saw Han Dong posting on his Weibo about it so I checked it out. Mostly curiosity at first but now I’m actually looking forward to it. Why? Because someone’s NOT doing it. And because I want to see how it goes since I actually like both Han Dong and Wei Qian Xiang. And to see what craziness could be put into it.
First off, Han Dong as Wei Xiao Bao (韋小寶). Um…Han Dong is funny. He could be funny. But he’s sort of past the Xiao Bao age already. However, past adaptations have people older than him portraying the role SO I’m going to let that pass.
The cute and charming Wei Qian Xiang will be Emperor Kang Xi (康熙皇帝). I couldn’t find a picture with him in costume yet. But from one of his rent photos, he has already shaved his head. Maybe they just haven’t filmed scenes involving him yet so there are no releases of that.
Some people were saying how Han Dong and Wei Qian Xiang should swap (OR something like that). I actually agree. Maybe it’s because WQX looks younger (and is younger than Han Dong in real life). He would make a convincing Xiao Bao in that area. However, I’m not totally against the guys as they are in the current roles either. As long as it’s humorous enough and they’re not trying too hard to be funny. (‘Cause “trying” would create the opposite effect as we all know.)
Moving forward to Xiao Bao’s seven wives. Who are they this time around?
Zhang Meng (张檬) as Shuang Er (雙兒). Whoever said that Shuang Er was one of the most boring characters MUST HAVE NOT read the novel. Shuang Er might be one of the obedient and sweet ones among Xiao Bao’s wives. However, she wasn’t a doormat or boring. Not only was she really good in martial arts but she was also quite smart. She was quite funny as well. Among all the wives, she spent a lot of time with Xiao Bao but really knew how to protect herself and kept her distance until she actually became his wife. Unless Jin Yong changed her character to a really boring one after his revisions, I remember laughing a lot and enjoying her scenes with Xiao Bao each time I read the novel. Back to the actress, I have never watched her in anything so NOT sure if she could make me like her. As of now, I have to get used to the hairstyle and then I’m good.
Wu Qian (吴倩) as Mu Jian Ping (沐劍屏). Dubbed to be another boring and obedient wife by some people, I have to disagree once again. OKAY, I will say that she was also the sweet and obedient type. YET she was far from boring. She was really cute and innocent in her own way because she was really young, like some of the characters started out when they met Xiao Bao. However, I think she was more than met the eyes at times. Maybe because she was young and might not comprehend certain things yet, considering how she had a protective brother and some protective uncles as well. She was also a princess but not spoiled. What I’m saying here is I find her braver than some supposedly ‘brave’ characters in here. Like how she was captured and was forced to take poison like some of the other captives too YET didn’t waver like the others. She didn’t betray Xiao Bao and rather die than trick him. Though she was rescued and got captured again, she still sent him the signals that one time when the others used disguises to try and trick Xiao Bao once more. Back to the actress, have not seen her either but she does look cute so far. Just have to wait and see.
Zhao Ke (赵柯) as Fang Yi (方怡). Fang Yi was probably my least favorite wife among all of Xiao Bao’s wives. YES, even less than the spoiled princess. Perhaps it was because she claimed to be so righteous and all from the beginning and even criticized her previous lover for being a coward, etc. Yet she also became a coward and even leaned on the despicable side to trick Xiao Bao, etc. Sure, I got it that the poison was REALLY, REALLY scary and she had seen people suffering from it hence fearing for her life. But what she said before totally went out the window. It proved that she couldn’t stand the test either so she had no excuse to criticize anyone’s behaviors. Some people are probably saying Xiao Bao deserved it if he fell for her manipulation yet it didn’t stop me from not liking her. She and Mu Jian Ping were actually switched around when it came to appearance and personality because you just can’t look on the outside to assume they were strong or weak. As for the actress, I like her outfit thus far. Not sure how it would go. Maybe her portrayal of Fang Yi might convince me at last and make me sympathize with her more than shake my head? Because all the past adaptations that I watched failed to convince me to sympathize with her.
Viann Zhang (張馨予) as Su Quan (蘇荃). OMG, WEIRD HAIRDO! The weird hair and makeup make her look older than she is. YET I guess it would make sense because Su Quan’s the oldest among all the wives. Must make her look older. But the hair? The hair could seriously go. Okay, I’ll stop. But anyway, Su Quan was quite pretty yet could be really dangerous too. Obviously. She was super intelligent and calculative also, of course, because of who she lived with. One of those hard roles to portray as well. Since she had to be appearing ‘gentle’ yet could kill you within seconds.
Loura Lou (娄艺潇) as Princess Jian Ning (建宁公主). The crazy, spoiled princess. She was actually NOT a princess. But it would depend on adaptations, LOL! The craziest and probably the only one Xiao Bao couldn’t get the upper hand with until WAY later. I don’t really care since she didn’t appear much in the novel. But adaptations often make her front and center at times. I guess they wouldn’t want to waste her just for some scenes. She appeared more near the end though. That was about it. Have to wait and see how this actress would portray her. The outfit still looked tame for Jian Ning. But I guess that was just one of her outfits.
Jia Qing (贾青) as A Ke (阿珂). Oh wow, Miss Jia is so busy this year, appearing in quite a few grand productions. Anyway, A Ke was actually a very complicated character. I remember not liking her much when I was watching the first adaptation I know of. Then I later read the novel and realized how wrong I was. That adaptation killed her for me because it made her the reason for Xiao Bao’s master’s death, i.e. she lured Xiao Bao and got him caught hence Xiao Bao’s master having to go save him and the inevitable. (Though I did blame Xiao Bao for being stupidly obsessed with her hence getting himself caught as well.) WAY to go people. BUT that was NOT the actual version. It also had to do with the actress chosen at that time that made me sympathize with her less, etc. Also because I was too young when I watched it the first time that I didn’t think much of it. Then later, I realized she was quite a pitiful character. In fact, her background was as bad as Xiao Bao. (YEAH, you laugh now when you read it like it is since Xiao Bao’s quite cunning and many hilarious stories surround him. YET has anyone realized how people around Xiao Bao always want to use him? Except for a rare few?) Anyway, A Ke kept getting pushed from one person to the next, used as a tool for revenge on many levels. Then her world got tossed upside down to the point that she was going insane. So good luck, Jia Qing! (LOL!) I have yet to see anyone nail this character, even if I did sympathize with her.
Okay, so tally up that means….oh, wait…only six? I had to jump back and forth to see if I miss any pictures. OR didn’t save correct pictures. Yet they left out Zeng Rou (曾柔)? I also heard how people say that Zeng Rou was like Mu Jian Ping and Shuang Er (aka boring, etc) so not having her was no big deal. However, WRONG. She was quite brave and patriotic. (If being patriotic is boring, then I seriously don’t know what to say anymore.) She could be so smart too but she was not a show-off. Maybe they haven’t released the stills yet? The production team didn’t even put up their own Weibo page yet so I’m guessing I should wait before I panic? LOL!
Anyway, the expected number of episodes is 50. If they squeeze in everything from the novel, it would make sense. However, I saw some details that could get quite creative. Yet I hope it wouldn’t end up focusing on some things more than others hence making it draggy instead of interesting with the whole treasure hunt, etc. There are so many characters in here that it’s impossible to make it a boring one BUT of course I’ll try to hold my tongue because people tend to surprise me too much with their ‘geniuses’. (Yeah, sarcasm here.)
EDIT: The latest snapshot from Hengdian has it that the expected amount of episodes is actually 35. If it’s 35, it wouldn’t be too bad. Just have to pick and choose the right scenes AND not cut too much or it would be ridiculous. Well, there’s also the obvious that usually books are longer because of the details needed for descriptions versus seeing the pictures on the screen.
ANOTHER EDIT: I forgot that they actually have a Weibo page set up already BUT I lost track of it when I was browsing around in my ‘follow’ list. (Click here to follow them directly.)
Okay, staying positive SO I’ll update more as the filming progresses.
*All images were collected around the net, therefore, belonging to their rightful owners.