Mainland Chinese actor Hu Ge (胡歌) will appear as a young army officer in 49 Days of Sacrifice <四十九日•祭>, the TV drama adaptation of writer Yan Geling (嚴歌苓)’s novel, 13 Flowers of Nanjing <金陵十三釵>. 49 Days of Sacrifice, which tells of the atrocities and horrors committed during the Nanjing Massacre, will be Hunan Satellite TV’s first series on the topic.
Like the 2011 movie The Flowers of War <金陵十三釵>, which was directed by Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) and also based on Yan’s novel, 49 Days of Sacrifice is set in 1937, after Nanjing was invaded by Japanese troops. In order to escape the Japanese, a group of Chinese schoolgirls flee to a Roman Catholic cathedral. There, they encounter a group of prostitutes, sparking a tragic story that reflects the meaning of life and the redemption of humanity in the midst of dire straits.
Although the screenplay of 49 Days of Sacrifice will be written by Yan, the drama’s title is markedly different. When asked about this, director Zhang Li (張黎) responded, “We know that the Nanjing Massacre lasted 42 days. Our script begins a week before the Massacre begins, so when you add that up, it equals 49 days. This also happens to be the number of days that a spirit of a Chinese person is in transition after [that person] passes away.”
Mainland Chinese actress Song Jia (宋佳) will take on the role of the female lead, prostitute Yu Mo, who was portrayed by rising star Ni Ni (倪妮) in the film version. Mainland Chinese actor Zhang Jiayi (張嘉譯) will portray the cathedral’s priest, who is also the drama’s male lead. Schoolgirl Meng Shujuan will be played by Nanjing-born actress Zhang Xinyi (張歆怡), who played the same character in the movie.
Despite being the most touted name in the cast, Hu Ge does not have the lead role. Instead, he will play Dai Tao, a young officer who sacrifices himself to save the schoolgirls in the cathedral. The role corresponds to that of Major Li in the movie.
49 Days of Sacrifice filmed in various locations in Nanjing, Shanghai, and Beijing, including the cathedral and the village of Shijiao, both of which were used as filming locations in the movie as well. The drama, whose total investments surpassed 100 million yuan, will be 42 episodes long and is expected to air this year.
This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.