The latest version of The Legend Of White Snake 新白娘子传奇 starring Alan Yu Menglong as Xu Xuan and Ju Jingyi as Bai Suzhen premiered last month. It was the official adaptation based on the 1992 version popularized by Angie Chiu and Cecilia Yip. While the series has been a visually appealing experience, people were unhappy that this version was different and seemed more like an idol romance instead of the timeless love story it used to be.
Producer Liu Guimei has addressed several concerns of the drama’s critics in a recent interview. She says that they opted to modernize the classic story, catering it to a younger audience because if they followed the 1992 Legend Of White Snake, they would only be imitating it and not innovating.
As there were complaints over iconic scenes being left out, she says that the most important thing in an adaptation is not to copy the story, but to focus on an aspect of it. The meeting at the bridge, the mountain scene, the umbrella scene, opening a clinic, these were all included in the 2019 version. However, it wasn’t a point by point reenactment, instead they changed things up a bit in order to offer something new.
Liu Guimei also talks about casting Yu Menglong and Ju Jingyi. The 1992 version featured an older cast that was in their thirties. Liu Guimei admits that Angie Chiu exuded an air of dignity that is difficult to surpass and the original is too much of a classic to replace. A remake focusing on younger characters is their take on the story. Ju Jingyi’s Bai Suzhen is very youthful and the actress herself is also younger and in her twenties. Her character will have a growth process of learning and understanding which will be essential for the plot.
Liu Guimei further says that they chose Alan Yu as Xu Xian since he gave off the feeling of gentleness and elegance while they cast Ju Jingyi for her temperament of being smart and neat, perfect for their vision of Bai Suzhen.