Moonshine and Valentine 结爱·千岁大人的初恋 is a drama that came together so beautifully. I find it interesting to read about the making of the drama. Luckily, the production team has been very open in their interviews and social media posts.
1. It’s meant to be a short drama with 24 episodes + 1 spinoff.
According to Director Leste Chen, his personal preference would be to cut the drama to 20 episodes. For him, shorter dramas help tell a richer story rather than one that’s stretched out with uninteresting narrative.
2. While the story is set in China, all of the scenes were filmed in Thailand.
Leste Chen who lived in Bangkok for eight to nine months while working on other films thought that the place would be suitable for a modern drama and suggested it to co-director Xu Zhao Ren.
Both ended up having only good things to say about Thailand. The place is beautiful, the weather is good, the people are nice and quite professional. It is also much easier (and presumably less expensive) to film in Thailand rather than in Shanghai, Beijing or Guanzhou. Actors didn’t have much reason to leave the set which the Director joked was an added bonus. However, he reveals the biggest downside from the location was the language barrier – occasional signs and spoken words had to be edited out post-production.
3. The leading lady wasn’t supposed to be Victoria Song.
Coming from a dance background, Victoria Song’s casting displeased some fans who had little faith in her acting. Things have worked out for the best as Victoria’s been getting positive reviews along with leading man Johnny Huang who according to the director was made for this profession. On Victoria Song, the director admits that they really did have someone else in mind at the beginning. The original actress backed out due to some differences so someone suggested Victoria Song. Leste Chen has seen her reality show before and thought that she was quite adorable. After working with her, he said that Victoria is smart, very easy to work with and exceeded all of his expectations. He even had a somewhat stern rule that the cast couldn’t take vacation throughout the entire duration of filming which she easily agreed to.
4. The cast dubbed their own character’s voices.
There seem to be two schools of thought on the topic – those that like original dubbing and those that prefer professional voice actors. The Director cited the TV show Friends as an example and said that it would be weird if Rachel spoke in a different voice. He thinks that every actor’s voice matters so he tried to make sure that they could use their own voices.
5. Zhu Que Jie 朱雀街 was a song composed for the drama.
It is a song that means a lot to the main couple in the novel and the lyrics were initially composed by Zhi Mo. For the drama, Song Bingyang had a demo that fit perfectly and when he took on the role of Ah Gui, he decided to combine his existing lyrics with the original one created by Zhi Mo to make Zhu Que Jie. Song Binyang (Korean name Song Bin Young) was a former SM trainee who left the company in 2011. He is now a solo artist.
6. The source novel takes inspiration from a collection of stories from the Tang Dynasty.
Many including the Director find similarities between the drama and hit Korean dramas like The Lonely, Shining Goblin and You From Another Star. Auhor Shi Dingrou actually started writing the novel as early as 2010, years before both dramas went on air.
The fox legends in the story were mostly taken from the Tang Dynasty book Guang Yi Ji which was a collection of strange stories. The novel Jie Ai: Ji Si Da Ren 结爱:祭司大人系列 is a three-part series: 结爱：异客逢欢, 结爱：犀燃烛照 and 结爱：南岳北关. The drama is based on the first book and the third book is expected to be published in the latter half of this year.