Yu Zheng to Adapt “Return of the Condor Heroes”

By on February 19, 2013 in Hot Gossip!, TV Dramas

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Above: Chen Xiao is cast as Yang Guo in Yu Zheng’s adaptation of “Return of the Condor Heroes”.

Jin Yong (金庸) fans and television drama viewers alike screamed in outrage when television drama producer and writer, Yu Zheng (于正), announced that he plans to adapt Return of the Condor Heroes <神鵰俠侶>, one of Jin Yong’s most popular and best-selling wuxia novels to date.

Yu Zheng’s Return of the Condor Heroes will be the eleventh live-action adaptation of the novel, and the ninth adaptation into a television serial.

Wallace Huo (霍建華) and Joe Chen’s (陳喬恩) Swordman <笑傲江湖>, Yu Zheng’s latest adaptation on Jin Yong’s 1967 novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, is currently airing on mainland China’s Hunan TV to highly critical reviews. The drama is slammed for its inappropriate casting, character rewrites, and poor script. Originally only a supporting character in the novel, the powerful pugilist Dongfang Bubai (Joe Chen) has been rewritten to become a major love interest for the protagonist, Linghu Chong (Wallace Huo). Fans also criticized Yu Zheng for casting a woman to play Dongfang, who is a eunuch.

Known for creating melodramatic romantic story lines, it appears inevitable that Yu Zheng will eventually adapt the romance-centric Return of the Condor Heroes, Jin Yong’s most classic and romantic wuxia novel. Yu Zheng announced on his Weibo earlier that he is planning on writing an adaptation, which is slated to begin production in August 2013.

Netizens Ridicule Yu Zheng

Fans were not too enthusiastic regarding Yu Zheng’s surprise announcement. Referencing the far-fetched love story between Linghu and Dongfang in Swordsman, a netizen commented, “I wonder if the story will be rewritten so the Condor will end up being Yang Guo’s actual true love.”

Another netizen joked, “Since Linghu Chong and Dongfang Bubai are now very much in love, I heard that the talented Yu Zheng plans to rewrite Return of the Condor Heroes next, but Yang Guo’s true love will be the Condor, breaking Xiaolongnu’s heart! But don’t worry, she will have Yin Zhiping!”

Yu Zheng humorously replied to the comments, “Don’t worry. I won’t rewrite an animal into a human. I will also not change any of the characters.”

In a press interview, Yu Zheng disclosed that he has already chosen 25-year-old Chen Xiao (陈晓), who plays the tragic Lin Pinzhi in Yu Zheng’s Swordsman, to portray Yang Guo in his upcoming ROCH adaptation.

Yu Zheng has also denied previous rumors of him considering Tai Chi 0’s AngelababyPalace’s Tong Liya (佟丽娅), and Swordman’s Yuan Shanshan (袁姗姗) for the role of Xiaolongnu, saying that he prefers to cast a rookie actress for the role.

Source: QQ.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

69 comments to Yu Zheng to Adapt “Return of the Condor Heroes”

  1. kiki says:

    again, must be china stars since i have no clue who he is. he is femininely cute. 🙂

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      There are WAY too many celebs in China so how can we know them all???

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  2. YangGuo says:

    I may be wrong but is Yang Guo supposedly masculine? I haven’t read the novels, but from all the version I’ve seen so far Louis Koo, Christopher Lee and Huang Xiao Ming has all kinda depicted the rugged protagonist. This one seems a bit too feminine for the role, especially when the character has a time-skip.

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  3. Lee says:

    Yuan Shan Shan as Xiaolongnu? WTF. WTF. She’s as much a goddess as my big foot.

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  4. Cara says:

    *facepalm* Oh no!!!!!!!!!1

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  5. HeTieShou says:

    Oh no!!! Yu Zheng and another butchered adaption. Goodness, he is really out of ideas. I am shocked that JY allows him to do all these adaptions!! Why did he ban TVB then?? Honestly, I think TVB can currently do better than Yu Zheng when it comes to any wuxia adaptions.

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    • jayne replied:

      HeTieShou,
      Huang Xiaoming and Crystal Liu’s version of “Return of the Condor Heroes” brought them to stardom. Yu Zheng’s new version may not live up to hype.

      Based on looks alone, Chen Xiao does look a bit feminine, although I am not familiar with his acting skills.

      I am curious who will eventually be cast as Little Dragon Girl.

      TVB did a great job with early adaptations of Jin Yong. The 1980s and 1990s TVB version were so well done, I’ll rather no further TVB adaptations are made and let the best live in memory. Based on their current artists and producers (no good wuxia producers left), I don’t have confidence in TVB to produce another high-quality wuxia production.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Jayne,
        You said what my older brother told me too. He said that JY characters are used to bring many celebs up, but it can bring them down if they bomb their performance too.
        I do agree that TVB is bad right now, but what I meant was compared to Yu Zheng, they may do better since he is sooo bad and copies like crazy…

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      • Nelly replied:

        You see why he chooses rookies because they can’t bomb any lower than that. That aside, I love roch and it still is my best Jin yong story. Tvb did a great job with roch Carmen and Louis. I haven’t watched any other ones so can’t judge.

        Which version is your favorite?

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Nelly,
        ROCH is a good story but isn’t my most favorite JY novel.Oh yea, maybe that is why he chooses rookies at times.I love the 80s version with Andy and Idy the most but like the 90s version too. It is hard to find another actress that plays the grown Huang Rong better than Susanna Au Yeung.

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      • Fox replied:

        If you ask me, Chen Xiao is handsome but his acting is as questionable as Yuen Shan Shan (but I think YSS improved)

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    • sehseh replied:

      That time JY claimed he was sick of TVB changes his storyline etc, if not mistaken. Looking back, it’s more likely because TVB was cheap with the copyright fees, or current JY has gone senile.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Dementia, that is the only explanation I can think of because I refuse to believe JY is a sellout. I know writers have very little control over the adaptatation but he didn’t make it difficult for YZ did he?

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      • llwy12 replied:

        Funn,

        Dementia might still be a possibility, BUT……..I actually understand now why JY continues to allow YZ to butcher his productions. I read on one of JY’s websites that he actually isn’t the one who gives the approvals on who can film….not sure how long he’s been doing this (I’m thinking quite a few years already given his age), but I heard that he has a particular company represent him when it comes to copyright discussions with production companies interested in his works…that company gives the approval to the producer and then the script is written and the rest follows…JY himself doesn’t actually see the script nor does he give input. And it’s rumored that the head of the company representing JY is actually good friends with Yu Zheng, which is one of the supposed reasons why he gets the ‘special’ privilege of constantly remaking JY’s works despite the ‘butchering’….

        So yea…at first I was thinking that maybe JY was getting senile and therefore making bad decisions, but after I read about the outside company thing, it makes more sense….

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        But for this adaptation, YZ may have gotten JY’s approval who was said to have approved the casting of Joe Chen and even photographed with her. I am afraid that is YZ’s basis for the validation of this adaptation. My problem is not the adaptation. My problem is why YZ continues to cast his own actors who are substandard and miscast some pivotal roles. I am myself doubting Wallace now even if I love him.

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      • llwy12 replied:

        @Funn: Don’t know about the Swordsman adaptation, but there have actually been many instances in the past where people ‘claim’ that JY approved of something when he really didn’t, which I don’t really find surprising because attaching JY’s ‘stamp of approval’ to an adaptation does lend more ‘credibility’ to it. Basically, nowadays, JY doesn’t come out much anymore (geez, I think he’s close to 90 now?) so every time we hear that he ‘approved’ of something, it’s usually through the mouths of other people who don’t have any business speaking on his behalf. Pretty much now whenever I hear anyone say that JY ‘approved’ of a certain adaptation or casting of particular actors/actresses, I take it with a grain of salt…

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  6. Djojs says:

    Yawns…

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  7. Funn Lim says:

    My guess is Yuan Shan Shan.

    “Yu Zheng to Adapt “Return of the Condor Heroes””

    Real title is

    Yu Zheng to BUTCHER “Return of the Condor Heroes”

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      Is Chen Xiao the same Chen Xiao the insipid 19th prince or whatever his number is in Gong II? If yes, ZERO presence. Again YZ has shown to us his own hired signed artistes are of such low quality that he needs mostly outsiders as real leads.

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      • Jiayi replied:

        He’s also Lin Ping Zhi in “Swordman”.

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      • Jiayi replied:

        Yep, Yin Ji (19th) prince in Gong II

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        I like him in neither. Was he also the creepy brother in Ruby’s Glamorous concubine? Seriously all these actors look alike!

        Anyway isn’t he sort of small sized to be Yangguo although probably young looking enough? I have always wondered when YZ will best himself in making the worst casting decision.

        And here goes YZ, I won’t change any characters declaration. When he did, and fundamentally. I am ok with changes but I am just aghast at his unnecessary changes making something good to bad to worse to seriously ewwwwwwwwww

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      • Jiayi replied:

        No, the one the played Ruby’s brother was Mao Zi Jun (he was also in Gong, I believe the first one. He fell in love with Tong Liya’s character).

        Honestly, I haven’t cared for any of YZ’s choice of actors for any of his dramas yet..haha. Chen Xiao wasn’t impressive in any of his roles in YZ’s series (6 or so) and I’m guessing ROCH will be no different.

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  8. llwy12 says:

    Honestly, Jin Yong really needs to revoke the rights to Yu Zheng remaking his novels cuz all the “liberties” he’s taking with changing stuff is really starting to get out of hand. I read in the news today that hardcore JY fans have been really pissed at how much Yu Zheng changed The Swordsman and how disappointed they are in his version. In response, Yu Zheng supporters (and fans of the new Swordsman cast no doubt) have been counter-attacking with really nasty comments on-line – heck, one Yu Zheng /Swordsman supporter was even wishing that Jin Yong would just drop dead!! Now that’s really crossing the line if you ask me (sorry, but you don’t tell the original author of the novels to go drop dead just because you don’t’ like his fans being pissed at how much his works were butchered…to me, that’s just wrong!)…

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    • Nelly replied:

      Wow that’s uncalled for, I bet those supporters were fans of the idols. Let me guess, the critics responded back with them dropping dead first?

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  9. Abigail says:

    Is Yuan Shan Shan that bad of an actress? In most ‘news’ and ‘reviews’ I stumbled about YZ’s Swordsman, I keep seeing:

    -DFBB outshined RYY because Yuan Shan Shan can’t act for nuts
    -Joe Chen is brilliant and make Yuan Shan Shan look horrible
    -Yuan Shan Shan smiles too much for a RYY
    -RYY doesn’t deserve LHC

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    • Abigail replied:

      I’m curious, but at the same time doesn’t want to watch the drama.

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    • lily replied:

      its true! yuan shan shan doesnt even appear until nearly 20 episodes pass by and when she does appear totally no screen presence at all..it must be all the botox she has injected… no facial expressions other then smiling

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      “Is Yuan Shan Shan that bad of an actress? In most ‘news’ and ‘reviews’ I stumbled about YZ’s Swordsman, I keep seeing:

      -DFBB outshined RYY because Yuan Shan Shan can’t act for nuts
      -Joe Chen is brilliant and make Yuan Shan Shan look horrible
      -Yuan Shan Shan smiles too much for a RYY
      -RYY doesn’t deserve LHC”

      Joe Chen is a total miscast as DFBB but why people accept DFBB more is because

      a. YSS is a terrible actress
      b. DFBB got a bigger and more sadder role, like an underdog when it comes to love
      c. The background story of Joe and Wallace

      Personally both are terrible in their own respective roles but I too will say to LHC to go for DFBB quite simply because DFBB is supposed to be the villain.

      Frankly when I saw Joe Chen dance/kungfu/whatever, I laughed. All of them are terrible.

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      • ita replied:

        1st of all Joe Chen look too tiny, frail, skinny or whatever to be cast as DFBB. Watch one episode, when I see her doing evil laugh “muahahaha” or “dance”, “kungfu” whatever , I really can’t take it anymore and have to stop watching completely. At first going to watch it for Wallace, but DFBB just ruined it. Don’t know about YSS since can’t even bring myself to really finish watching Ep 1 or 2.

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  10. Terminatot says:

    And the Swordsman is still the number one drama in China currently and Yu Zheng is laughing all the way to the bank despite all the so-called artistic criticism.

    It is similar to a Stephen Chow movie or “Porky’s Revenge”: stupid, dumb with no redeeming value but they sure do well in the box office.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      YZ’s series has always been ratings puller. But please don’t compare him with Stephen Chow. That has more credibility with redeeming value.

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      • Terminatot replied:

        Please explain!

        Stephen Chow is nothing but a HK knockoff of John Waters.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        No idea who is John Waters.

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      • chps replied:

        Stephen Chow movies are comedies dude. Meant to be funny and quite witty sometimes too. Shaolin soccer, KungFu Hustle please? Yu Zheng series are funny in the so bad they’re funny way.

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      • Terminator replied:

        FYI, the late John Waters was a US cult-filmmaker specializing in outrageous comedies. His best known work was ‘HairSpray’ starring John Travolta as a transgender mama

        Waters had a loyal following despite his work being constantly bashed by mainstream critics as brain-dead, stupid and crass. The NYU Tisch School of Filmmaking even offers a course on Waters’ work and a couple of Chow’s films has been mentioned as examples of Waters’ global influence.

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      • skinnymocha replied:

        “..the late John Waters”? He’s still alive and kicking, isn’t he? Or is it some kind of inside joke?

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      • Sharon replied:

        Butting in here: ‘Shaolin Soccer’ and ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ is garbage. Stephen Chow’s work from late 90s onwards is crap.

        Classic Stephen Chow is his earlier stuff. As my mum says, at that time, nobody had ever done comedy the way he did, which is why he made such an impact on HK film. And the gags are still hilarious. Sad how these days people only remember him for ‘Kung Fu Hustle’, which I personally did not find funny AT ALL.

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    • ita replied:

      Agreed, never really think highly of Stephen Chow movie. Although I think his real breakthrough was Kung Fu Hustle.

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      • Terminator replied:

        And to this day I still for the life of me has not figured out what is so brilliant or intelligently funny about that movie. It only confirms that slapstick is the lowest form of comedy.

        The cartoonish stunts were overdone and seemed stolen from Quentin Farrentino’s “Kill Bill”.

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  11. kixbaby says:

    i’m actually more open to interpretations instead of sticking close to a text. Other American books, of course, I want them to stay close to the text, but JY’s novels have been adapted so many times that I am up for remakes with some “new” story lines. It’s a bit similar to fairy tales, like Snow White being retold in different ways.

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    • advo replied:

      A different interpretation is perfectly alright to me. What about a modernisation of one of his novels? That could be interesting.

      But Yu Zheng doesn’t “interpret”. He copies the “juicy” parts from other adaptations and glue them together into a ridiculous mishmash that make sense to no one. Usually, he only make changes so there will be a thousand complicated love strings, revolving around either the male or female lead. I doubt Yu Zheng has ever had a single original thought in his head. Even his casting is beyond predictable. He will cast the same actor in multiple series, even if the actor is generally disliked such as Mickey He and Yuan Shan Shan and regardless of if they are miscast. I guess, now he’s set his eyes on making Chen Xiao a star.

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      • Nori replied:

        Exactly! Take Gong 1 as a sample! I’m pretty sure that Yu Zheng copied BBJX then twisted the plot. Yuan Shan Shan and Mickey He have no lead role materials but despite the fact, he still makes them main characters and that destroys the whole series.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        No need to say pretty sure. He copied. Gong 2 was Empresses In The Palace except back to front sort of way.

        Mickey He to me is one of his better actors, if in the right role. He has a lovely speaking voice, probably the only one not dubbed?

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      • skinnymocha replied:

        Oh. I’ve been mistaken all this time and thought Gong was supposed to be an adaptation of the BBJX novel…

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        It was but an unauthorised version

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      • advo replied:

        @ Funn

        Mickey He might be one of his better actors but that’s not saying much when his standards are so low. Anyway, what’s almost as bad as his pets’ poor acting skills, is his tendency to miscast people. Say Swordsman, he miscasts Joe Chen in one female lead role and casts the atrocious YSS in the other. Poor YSS who’s had so much work done to her face that not only is it incapable of emoting but she looks like a creepy alien.

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      • Addy replied:

        Mickey He is dubbed, but he usually uses the same voice actor.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        He dubbed himself or so consistent in every series same person dubs him?

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Not sure if he dubbed himself. From his interview videos. his voice is higher pitched. Some actors may lower their voices when acting. But if he dubbed, and consistently with the same voice (which really suits his face), then I must declare, even the one final redeeming factor for YZ is gone.

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      • Addy replied:

        There is a voice actor who consistently dubs his voice. The voice actor (Chen Hao 陈浩) also dubbed Patrick Tam’s voice in his drama with Tavia – “The Emperor’s Harem”

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Sigh… my hope is crushed. YZ, I HATE YOU!!!!!

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  12. Nori says:

    Please hell no!!!! Yu Zheng has gone insane I can tell.

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  13. advo says:

    I think Yu Zheng is slowly butchering his way through JY’s novels.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      Slowly is an understatement. He is also butchering his way through Tong Hua’s novels I believe. At least he paid for the rights this time.

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      • advo replied:

        I don’t know why he bothers. The end result never resembles the original work so he might as well save the money for rights.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      I wonder if he will do that for GL novels?? It is easier for GL’s novels since he passed away, but then again his fans will stand up and complain if he goes too far.

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  14. exoidus says:

    “Yang Guo’s true love will be the Condor, breaking Xiaolongnu’s heart! But don’t worry, she will have Yin Zhiping!”

    His true love will be the Golden Wheel Nun and their love will stop Mongolia’s invasion of China…end of story 😀

    Plz do some time-travelling instead…

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    • ita replied:

      @exoidus Hahaha…look forward for that adaption.

      Every year the adaption of Jin Yong getting worst and worst, wonder what’s left for the next generation.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        The next generation can go straight to the source and read.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      Time traveling is banned remember? And YZ aims to please.

      On Yangguo’s true love, it has got to be his… which arm was amputated? He lost his true love and changed forever. It’s K-drama with the pace of HK-drama reimagined in the likes of C-drama with as YZ wants it, actors like T-drama.

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  15. Kidd says:

    ROCH is a perfect novel for Yu Zheng to adapt. Yu Zheng loves romance and often put heavy doses of romance in his series, and ROCH is the most romance-centric of all Jin Yong’s novels.

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    • advo replied:

      He will find a way to multiply the convoluted love stories!

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  16. iampheng says:

    Chen Xiao has a sneer about him that can look quite devious and masculine. If he gains a little weight and beefs up, like how Yan Kuan did, then he could do the masculine look. The man has “bad boy” eyes.

    Honestly, I don’t like Joe Chen and I don’t think she is pretty, HOWEVER, she is a very captivating DFBB. In fact, she is extremely charismatic and comes off cooler than LHC! I will most be watching this series for her now, oh and Han Dong!

    I do not consider his reply humorous at all. I would have said something like, “Excellent suggestion! I just love the ridiculousness :)” I didn’t think LYF did a great job as XLN, but she looked appropriately…ethereal, I guess, but not a heart stopping beauty.

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  17. Fox says:

    I can’t wait to watch XLN loves Lin Pinzhi or better than that, Lin Pinzhi is actually YG’s woman!

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  18. HeTieShou says:

    Oh gosh, I can totally imagine him turning XLN into a guy and Yang Guo into a girl…. I wonder if you all remember this other adaption of JDSJ where they turned JYL into a girl? Anything is possible these days… If they are so creative, then why not write their own story and script? Why adapt from a novel for??

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      I got it!!! The bird/eagle is actually an eagle girl spirit looking after and in love with Yangguo and will sacrifice herself to help reunite the 2 lovers. That’s a twist don’t you think?

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  19. Sharon says:

    DEAR GOD NO.

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  20. A says:

    I think Chen Xiao would be a good Yang Guo if he got a little more buff. He has an attractive face.

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