After eight years, TVB’s trend setting palace drama War and Beauty <金枝慾孽> is finally green-lighted for a sequel! Production for the sequel began in March 2012 in Hong Kong, before moving to film on location at Hengdian World Studios in June 2012. The cast and crew will will stay there for an entire month. On Tuesday night, Sheren Tang (鄧萃雯) and Moses Chan (陳豪) filmed a light, bittersweet kissing scene under the rain. Embarrassed, Sheren laughed, “It has been awhile since I last came upon such scenarios in both real life and acting, so when we were filming I couldn’t control my laughter.” Moses also did not forget to report to his girlfriend, Aimee Chan (陳茵媺), about the scene!
Renamed Beauty at War <金枝慾孽 (貳)>, the War and Beauty sequel is produced by TVB’s golden duo, producer Jonathan Chik (戚其義) and scriptwriter Chow Yuk Ming (周旭明). Although their recent productions were met with poor ratings, War and Beauty swept the 2004 TVB Anniversary Awards in major awards categories. It was arguably the duo’s most successful collaboration. Not only was it a critically acclaimed ratings hit, it also set a trend for palace scheming television dramas.
Unlike its predecessor’s palace scheming theme, Beauty at War will focus on the theme of love. Moses’ character will be emotionally involved with the characters played by Sheren, Ada Choi (蔡少芬) and Christine Ng (伍詠薇), and he will also having kissing scenes with both Sheren and Ada. Sheren, who did not share any scenes with Moses while filming in Hong Kong, was surprised that she had to kiss Moses once they arrived in Hengdian, “I thought Jonathan was joking when he said that I will have to film a kissing scene. There is kissing in period dramas? It turns out there really is!”
On the night of the kissing scene, both Moses and Sheren appeared nervous, but they completed the shot in one take. Sheren, who rarely film kissing scenes, said, “Jonathan gives a lot of freedom for his actors. He never says cut. We did not know when to stop kissing, so Moses and I could not stop laughing!” Would the currently single Sheren wish to start looking for a relationship because of this scene? She joked, “No, but if Moses was not dating someone, I will!”
Moses said, “I also rarely film kissing scenes so I was a little nervous, but it was okay. Sheren is very professional, and Ada is a great crier. After becoming a mother, Ada’s emotions became more abundant, so filming has been really smooth.” Asked whether he reported to Aimee Chan, Moses said, “I did. This is a form of respect. I believe it is necessary, and when she films similar scenes, she will also let me know.” Asked whether he spoke with Aimee on the phone everyday, Moses said, “My iPhone broke so I cannot go online. I can only call her.”
Moses Chan Feels Ada Choi’s Happiness
In this sequel, almost all of the major female characters would fall in love with Moses Chan’s character. Moses praised Ada’s professionalism, and remarked that Ada became a much happier person after having her daughter. “On our road trip to the Shanghai Television Festival, Ada could not stop talking about her family. Even I could feel her warmth and happiness.”
Asked when Moses will marry and have children, Moses laughed and said, “I am still working hard. I will take things slowly; there is no need to worry.”
Ada Choi, who recently shot to stardom in mainland China due to the success of Qing Dynasty palace drama Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan <后宮·甄嬛傳>, also brought her daughter Zoe with her to Hengdian. Although a nanny was present to help out, Ada would take care of Zoe once she was released from work. “It is really tiring, but I am so happy when I see my daughter. She is my driving force!”
Ada expressed that her husband, Max Zhang (張晉), also plans to visit them at Hengdian if his schedule allows. “There was once a time when Zoe did not respond to my husband after he was away for a whole month. It gets him really nervous.”
Sheren Tang Demands Too Much?
Despite being one of TVB’s most highly anticipated and expensive productions to date, loyal viewers of the franchise criticized Beauty at War for its weak cast. With the absence of powerhouse actresses Gigi Lai (黎姿), Charmaine Sheh (佘詩曼), and Maggie Cheung (張可頤), will Beauty at War suffer poorer results due to the lack of star power? Ada said, “It’s enough! It is not based on quantity. The most important things are good story, good acting, and good cast. The three of us female leads are having a great time together.”
However, rumors say that Sheren Tang’s great demands caused great stress for the cast members. Christine Ng, who shared the most scenes with Sheren, admitted, “It is a lot of pressure. I was really nervous on the first two days of filming. When we practice our scenes, I would almost forget my lines when she looks at me. She is intimidating, but not as harsh as people make her seem. She treats everyone really well and cares for all of us.”
Beauty at War is expected to wrap up filming by mid July 2012.
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