CHINA : After two years of negotiations and preparations, filming will finally commence on Chinese producer Zhang Jizhong’s TV adaptation of the Chinese classic “Journey to the West”.
Spanning 50-episodes, the mega TV series is estimated to cost $100 million to produce, and filming is scheduled to begin at the end of this month.
During a recent interview, Zhang indicated that the four main characters – Monkey King, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy – would not be played by big name celebrities but by experienced and established actors.
The interview also further fuelled rumours that Chinese singer Faye Wong was in talks to star as the Goddess of Mercy. When asked if Wong was going to be in his adaptation, Zhang seemed surprised and repeatedly asked, “Who said that?”
Zhang did not deny nor confirm the rumours, saying he has not made a decision although he is definitely considering her for the role.
Zhang also revealed that his adaptation of “Journey to the West” will see several actors playing the many different incarnations of the Goddess of Mercy which includes a bearded male version.
According to sources, the final decision lies with Wong. The 40-year-old singer apparently feels that she personally does not resemble the Goddess of Mercy and is hesitant to accept the role although Zhang feels otherwise.
Considering Wong’s strong Buddhism beliefs and a deep, personal friendship that she shares with Zhang, chances are high that she will agree to play the coveted role.