Producer Jonathan Chik Explains Intentions Behind “Beauty at War”

By on April 22, 2013 in TV Dramas

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After a long wait of 9 years, producer Jonathan Chik (戚其義) and script editor Chow Yuk Ming (周旭明) finally created the sequel to popular classic, War and Beauty <金枝慾孽>. The second installment, Beauty at War <金枝慾孽 (貳)>, will premiere on Monday, April 22. Ada Choi (蔡少芬), Christine Ng (伍詠薇), and Eddie Kwan (關禮傑) are the new additions to the cast. Will the palace drama will viewers’ hearts without the majority of its original characters?

Producer Chik revealed, “A lot of people expect more palace schemes, but this sequel will revolve around the concept of right and wrong, gossip, and sympathy. The story is not difficult to grasp. There was a lot of scheming and fighting in the original series, and many people died in the end. This time, I can tell the audience that there won’t be many deaths. The taste is not as heavy.”

Sheren Tang (鄧萃雯) is the only cast member to reprise the same role from the original drama – the memorable Yu Yuet. Although Moses Chan (陳豪) was also part of the original cast, he will reappear as an opera artist named Ko Lau Fei, who enters the palace to perform.

A Parallel Story

The connection between the two installments lies between Sheren and Christine’s characters. Christine will portray Yu Yuet’s younger sister, Yuen Sau. They entered the palace during the same year, but Yu Yuet later became ill and Yuen Sau carried on to gain the emperor’s favor by herself. She won the emperor’s heart, but was unfortunately left as a widow when he passed away soon after.

Yuen Sau remained in the palace with bitterness, while Yu Yuet became the new emperor’s favorite concubine. Yuen Sau believes that her sister had pretended to fall sick that year, shoving her at the dying emperor. With hatred in her heart, Yuen Sau consistently tries to defame Yu Yuet in the palace.

In the original series, all the rumors regarding Yu Yuet was actually just an illusion through parallel time and space, and was made up by Yuen Sau. Only in Beauty at War can the audience see the true version of Yu Yuet. As a result, there is a big difference in Sheren’s portrayal of her character.

Ada Choi and Sheren Tang’s Characters Are Not Lesbians

As the nanny of Yu Yuet’s daughter, Ada’s Sheung Ling will use information she obtains within the palace for profitable gains. Contrary to earlier intentions, Ada and Sheren will not have a lesbian relationship in the drama. Producer Chik expressed, “We did think of filming a lesbian scene, but decided not to in the end. In the drama, both Sheren and Ada fall in love with Moses. However, it isn’t the typical kind of a triangle relationship. Ada and Sheren confide in and depend on each other. It’s a type of care, not love. There is space for it to turn into love though, so it’s a little contradictory. Christine will also have feelings for Moses. The plot isn’t typical, so everyone should just watch.”

Gigi Lai and Charmaine Sheh’s Characters Brought Back

Producer Chik further revealed that there are chances of seeing Gigi Lai (黎姿) and Charmaine Sheh’s (佘詩曼) characters in the sequel. Different editing methods were used to to make these scenes memorable. For instance, in one episode, Gigi’s voice may be heard. There will also be flashbacks to the first installment. In some situations, the audience will be able to see the characters Yuk Ying (Gigi) and Yi Shun (Charmaine) again.

Source: Ming Pao Weekly #2319 via ihktv.com

This article is written by Shirley for JayneStars.com.

54 comments to Producer Jonathan Chik Explains Intentions Behind “Beauty at War”

  1. jayne says:

    Perhaps Jonathan Chik removed the lesbian scene because Sheren Tang spoke out against it. After her kissing scene with Ada was aired in the sales presentation clip, Sheren said she was against such explicit lesbian material in her projects.

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    • idontknow replied:

      was there a kissing scene between them?

      if she was against it.. why did she film it for the sales presentation then…

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      • Yuyu replied:

        Haha. Good point.

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  2. 939393 says:

    Watched the first episode. It was a bit of a let down. But I was however, impressed with Moses’ acting even though it only lasted a mere 5 minutes. hopefully the story would be better in the upcoming episodes.

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    • anoninhk replied:

      is it basically the costume version of when heaven burns or master of play? if so, i’m just going to skip it.

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      • 939393 replied:

        I enjoyed When Heaven Burns and Master of Play to be honest. But no, the first episode is nothing like it.

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      • Joanne replied:

        I loved When Heaven Burns, but so far, it’s not quite like it.

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      • idontknow replied:

        how can this be a costume version of WHB ?
        what are the similarities then?

        please explain!

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      • 939393 replied:

        @idontknow: so far, it isn’t anything like WHB

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    • Ling replied:

      Me too. Impressed with Moses’s acting .

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  3. Funn Lim says:

    I don’t understand why they keep confusing us with the words “parallel time and space” when obviously there is NO parallel time and space but rather some plot points in WAB is now used as some legend about the mysterious evil Sheren who turns out to be really a nice person.

    1st ep is not impressive.

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    • Djojs replied:

      I agree Funny.

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  4. bryantchang says:

    They tried to bring back Gigi Lai and Charmaine Sheh’s footage and ignored Maggie Cheung’s. How petty TVB is!~

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    • Djojs replied:

      Boo… i like Maggie.

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  5. sel_fi_wu says:

    the cast is impressive: sheren, ada, christine NG. hope the story is compelling

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  6. Daisy says:

    It wouldn’t make sense if they brought Gigi and Charmaine back anyways. Gigi’s character supposedly died and Charmaine left the palace fate unknown.

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  7. AL says:

    just watching the 1st one…pretty good…will continues watch it

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  8. Tess says:

    I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t seen it yet. But in the first episode they did a subtle reference to Maggie cheung’s character. If you watched the war and beauty you would pick it up easily.

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    • Kidd replied:

      The story about the palace maid and the old eunuch is Maggie’s character’s story. 😀

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      • Tess replied:

        Also one more subtle reference. I almost forgot about it until I watched the sequel. Remember how Moses and Maggie would interact with each other even when they don’t see each other?

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      • Kidd replied:

        Yeah, the part of the rumour about the palace guard in love with the palace maid. 😀

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    • idontknow replied:

      i watched the first one like years ago.
      can’t really remember what’s about.

      so that’s maybe why i don’t really see a link between the first and second drama;

      think i have to rewatch the first one before watching war at beauty

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    • miriamfanz replied:

      Is that Maggie or Charmaine? Because I thought it was Charmaine that was sent in by the old eunuch to protect himself

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      • Hannah replied:

        That’s Charmaine’s story. Maggie’s story is where she was forced to marry the old eunuch.

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  9. Hannah says:

    Hmm Sounds like there will be some references to WAB. Instead of an indirect sequel, I guess this is how Producer Chik connects the two together.

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  10. Kidd says:

    I watch episode 1 yesterday in Astro AOD. So far, I really like the first episode. It’s an interest concept that has not been done before in other series.

    I was wondering why they show Emperor Pu Yi at the beginning which is a different timeline from WAB. I guess it’s to show the effect and power of lies and misinformation. Emperor Pu Yi has lived his early life in the palace, being sheltered from what really happen in the outside world. He didn’t know the dynasty is falling until he’s older.

    I also like the details they put into the character. Ada’s wet nurse character already has 3 children. This is true to history where one of the requirements for choosing wet nurse was that the wet nurse must already have at least 3 children.

    Lastly, what happen to Tracy Ip? Her face seem a bit distorted. She wasn’t like this in older series like ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and she was still beautiful in ‘Let It Be Love’. It seems like her face has become stiff and only her mouth can move.

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    • Primrose replied:

      Distorted, stiff face and only mouth can move. Botox overdose perhaps? 🙂

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      What about Christine’s face? Same problem.

      I didn’t like ep 1. It feels so messy as with all 1st episode. Hopefully 2nd episode settles down. The costume is terrible. The hairstyle is not nice. I am sick with the “Ngor” (I) when speaking with any member of the royalty. There is no consistency and again a big scary royal family reduced to a petty family squabble. Acting is so-so, Christine was scary.

      I am hoping for a better 2nd episode but right now, WAB is much better.

      Oh and Moses… oh my god.. so stiff! an even mime right! And as I feared, this series is populated by old people but since it is that circumstances, it works.

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      • Kidd replied:

        I like the costume. It’s true that they are not as beautiful as the Mainland production, but, it look realistic to me.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      Kidd,
      You are the first person that likes the first episode. Can you give some reasons about why you like it?

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      • miriamfanz replied:

        I think 1st ep is okay. Introduces all the characters. Talks about the theme of the series (rumours). I think people are jumping on it too quickly. Be patient until at least a few eps.

        Beauty at War Connection (with COTRH) http://casualtvb.blogspot.ca/2013/04/beauty-at-war-connection_22.html

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      • Kidd replied:

        Very hard to put into words. I just enjoy watching it.

        Part of the reason already given by SD very eloquently. 🙂

        – I like how the term is introduced, from wide scope culminate into smaller scope that focus on the main people.

        – The interlace and reference with part one that was done creatively.

        – The peking opera part.

        – The overall Jonathan Chik’s production feel. 😀

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    • SD replied:

      I both liked and disliked it.

      I disliked it because it was messy, you really really REALLY had to pay attention with the the names and the minor plot that was hatched otherwise it’ll be confusing and I suspect it probably confused alot of people. It doesn’t have your standard introduction, instead the series starts with a broadview that slowly narrows down into each character.

      I liked it because it made me think a little and tvb series rarely do that because they have such simplistic and predictable scripts.

      We start with Puyi under house arrest who has now grown up and knows that the Qing Dynasty ended some time ago. He states that because of how they were in the Forbidden City, they take in information and twist it into lies to self-delude themselves which acts as a prelude to the Opium War and the decline of the Qing.

      This also serves as a hint of how detached they were from reality which is delightfully mirrored when they timeskip backwards about 60-80 years with a gathered crowd also buying into such a ridiculous story based on rumors and imagination by a storyteller about their favorite divas in the palace. This is re-confirmed again by the friends of Moses who have also picked up on the story though they seem to be a brighter bunch.

      I saw that as a reflection of what modern society is like today, the few rational and gullible majority eager to devour any story or headline regarding famous people. It was portraying deception at its finest, be it the art of self-deception or to deceive others the first 20-25 minutes re-affirms the game they will be playing.

      I also liked some of the details they took the time subtlely present such as the wet nurse requirement, the loyalty of those devoted to a collapsed dynasty, references to WAB weaved into the rumor/story the guy was telling the public.

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      • 939393 replied:

        A beautiful summary of the first episode!

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  11. Kidd says:

    What does everyone think about the themesong? I think Christine Ng sings it well. I was expecting a stronger voice like how she sings in ‘Silver Tycoon’. I was surprised at the lighter tone. Christine Ng’s singing skill is pretty good if she can sing in different style using different tone to suit the song.

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    • Larry 3 replied:

      She was singer in the 90s and fall off from then…

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    • Hannah replied:

      Christine Ng also sang the theme to Against the Blade of Honour starring Louis Koo and Noel Leung. She’s a pretty good singer. Probably underrated at her time.

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  12. Lyle says:

    Watching the sequel made me miss Gigi and Bowie’s characters, Idk for some reason I didn’t really cared much for the others but either way Ada is prob the only reason ill be watch this, she never disappoints.

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    • Jasmin replied:

      Yes, I’m also watching this drama because Ada is in it.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      You guys should always watch a series for more than just your favorite actress or the cast only. Your favorite actress and the cast cannot carry the series if everything else is lacking.

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      • Lyle replied:

        What I meant is I’m giving it a watch just for Ada, if the plot drags on later theres no point in continuing no matter how much I like the cast. After all for most ppl it’s the cast that drew ppl to watch series in the first place right? Then if it flops the audience won’t continue to watch it no matter how much they like the cast

        Either way I’m not really a fan of imperial dramas so I’ll see how this goes.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        I am the one who like watching imperial palace setting drama series, especially Ching dynasty. All the concubines and royal family members are so elegant.

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      • Lyle replied:

        The thing with imperial dramas is that they’re all the same. Concubines having affairs with officials or eunuch. The king is either a pervert that doesn’t do his job or a righteous one. Ppl dies. Concubines fighting each other. Ppl try to fight for the kings throne. Scandals, bribery and betrayals.

        They’re just all the same. The only decent imperial drama recently was the one with Steven and Kenneth ough it’s prob because it wasn’t too focused on the concubines and other overused imperial theme plots.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        It depends on how much you know about the Ching Dynasty stories.

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  13. Tracy says:

    Out of all the characters in WAB, I like Maggie Cheung’s character, as On Sin, the most. She’s the smart lady.

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  14. 939393 says:

    Watching this series makes me ponder. In the first sequel, the cast were relatively young ranging from their 20s to 30s but they managed to command the series with critically-acclaimed performances. It’s sad to know that none of the current batches of artistes in their 20s are up to par. In fact, they are wayyyyy behind.

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  15. Ric says:

    I never understood the acclaim of WAB. I honestly felt the acting was bad on average and was only saved by a few strong performances. I have to say that watching the first episode of BAW was quite confusing. I was watching it during dinner and by the end of the episode, I had no idea what was going on with Pu Yi, a story teller, and opera scenes. I did rewatch it and after paying attention to the details, I feel like it was well done.

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    • Kidd replied:

      Haha. I didn’t understand the acclaim of WAB back then too. I actually felt bored with all the back and forth backstabbing and scheming. Maybe if I rewatch it now, I might appreciate it more.

      But, I like BAW. I felt it’s well done.

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  16. TN1 says:

    Gracious Lord, too much dialogues for BAW n I needed repeats as some too tough to understand mann!

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  17. Karen says:

    For such period dramas, I would rather wait patiently for the English subtitles.

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    • sandcherry replied:

      It is pretty hard to understand classical Chinese dialogues. Don’t blame you if you have to wait patiently for the English subtitles.

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  18. iawnaek says:

    Maggie Cheung is no longer in it. FAIL!

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    • sandcherry replied:

      Maggie Cheung is now working for HKTV. How could she have accepted a role in “Beauty at War”? She signed her contract with HKTV before the filming of “Beauty at War”.

      I also missed her as she is a very good actress.

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  19. sandcherry says:

    If we have difficulty in understanding the old classical Chinese dialogues, it would be extremely hard for the artistes to memorize them, say them fluently with no mistakes, and act with proper facial expressions and inner emotions. Therefore, I must say that the cast had put in a lot efforts in filming this “Beauty at War”.

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