Above: Angelababy, Huang Xiaoming, Tony Leung Ka Fai, and Shu Qi star in “Feng Shen Bang”.
Judging from the recent box office success of Stephen Chow’s (周星馳) Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons <西遊·降魔篇> and Cheang Pou Soi’s (鄭保瑞) The Monkey King <西游記之大鬧天宮>, the mainland Chinese film market is ripe for movies adapted from Chinese mythological tales. One such upcoming project is Feng Shen Bang <封神榜>, a 3D film that will star Tony Leung Ka Fai (梁家輝) and Shu Qi (舒淇), and is scheduled to begin filming in September.
Feng Shen Bang, which will be co-directed by Wilson Yip (葉偉信) and Koan Hui (許安), is based on the 16th-century Chinese novel Feng Shen Yan Yi <封神演義>, often translated as The Investiture of the Gods. The story tells of how King Zhou of Shang (Tony Leung) becomes a tyrant due to the wiles of Daji (Shu Qi), a vixen spirit who is disguised as one of his concubines. After a series of battles involving mythological intervention, King Zhou of Shang is overthrown by King Wu of Zhou and his strategist Jiang Ziya (Jet Li 李連杰).
With a budget of 300 million HKD, Feng Shen Bang is considered a comeback project for China Star Entertainment Group, a well-known film production company that hit an economic rut in 2005. Because CEO Charles Heung (向華強) and his wife Tiffany Chen (陳明英) are friends with many top entertainment stars, much of the Feng Shen Bang cast agreed to take on the film for a fraction of their market worth. Even Jet Li, who initially turned down the movie due to health issues, changed his mind because of his friendship with Heung.
The cast for Feng Shen Bang also includes Huang Xiaoming (黃曉明) as Erlang Shen, Angelababy (楊穎) as a mermaid, Louis Koo (古天樂) as Buddhist wisdom god Mahamayuri, Wen Zhang (文章) as Nezha, and Jacky Heung (向佐) as Leizhenzi. To the disappointment of Huang Xiaoming and Angelababy fans, however, the real-life couple will have very few scenes together.
This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.