Novoland: Eagle Flag 九州缥缈录 has received mixed reactions from viewers. While the visuals of the show are indeed impressive, the drama adaptation has ruffled the feathers of some fans who have gripes that the story doesn’t stay true to the novel.
Jiang Nan, the author of Novoland: Eagle Flag and the screenwriter responsible for the web adaptation has spoken up about why things had to change from the book. He explained that adapting his book which consisted of several volumes into a drama was very difficult and filming it was an ambitious task. Jiang Nan reveals that they had to change some parts of the novel to lessen the difficulty of filming. He also admits that some changes were made as a last resort and despite Eagle Flag turning out different from the original, Jiang Nan maintains that it is a sincere adaptation.
With a story about three people in the conflict-ridden world of Novoland, Jiang Nan talks about choosing Liu Haoran, Chen Ruoxuan and Lareina Song for the main roles.
Liu Haoran was the only person in the cast that Jiang Nan recommended himself. Though he explains that it’s not because he didn’t want to recommend others, he just doesn’t know that many actors. The good thing about Liu Haoran is that he is young but quite like an old actor. The first time they met, Liu Haoran immediately went into discussing the drama.
Jiang Nan describes the Qing Yang Crown Prince as reserved. He is not good at expressing himself but every word he says carries weight. Because he is not well-versed, he thinks carefully before he speaks. In the movie Detective Chinatown, Liu Haoran was that kind of person.
Jiang Nan admits that he doesn’t like it when the traits of bravery and determination are written all over one’s face, it’s too shallow even though it’s easy for viewers to understand. He likes the understated qualities, and Liu Haoran is such a person who is simple and easygoing. When they arranged to meet for hotpot, Jiang Nan thought that Liu Haoran would bring a lot of people as he has a team looking after him, but he came alone.
Jiang Nan appreciates Liu Haoran’s temperament. Moreover, the prince is a character that is lonely amongst tens and thousands before him. It requires an elegance that not many young actors can capture. For Jiang Nan, he could call Liu Haoran a young man with an old soul and the purity in his eyes is what he sees in Lv Guichen.
Jiang Nan tells us that Chen Ruoxuan worked hard to become Ji Ye. He reveals that they had to tone down Chen Ruoxuan’s good looks because he had to appear downtrodden. In fact, Ji Ye in the drama is in a worse situation than Ji Ye in the book. Many readers asked why Ji Ye would be willing to admit that he is Lei Yun Zheng Ke’s servant when in the books, he was extremely prideful. He is a character who would challenge the world with his spear and fight back when provoked.
The differences between both have to do with their mindset. Even though he is not a legitimate son, Ji Ye is a noble and has an air of confidence about him. Ji Ye in the drama is more inferior because of the things he has gone through and becoming Lei Yun Zheng Ke’s lackey was the way for him to fulfill his dream of joining the army. In that way, the intensity is heightened in the drama and his transformation even more impactful.
Jiang Nan reveals that Ji Ye has a lot more scenes compared to the novel. Jiang Nan initially considered telling the story through Ji Ye’s eyes but decided not to push through with it and chose Lu Guichen instead for the latter had a broader perspective.
Lareina Song was 18 when she was casted in the role. The director chose her at once and Jiang Nan concurs. Having stayed lived in the US before, Lareina is somewhat similar to Yu Ran who is from a foreign place.
He describes Lareina’s character Yu Ran as someone who can come off as proud and annoying. In some way, she is like Huang Rong from Legend of the Condor Heroes, witty, proud and confident. Jiang Nan says that Lareina’s acting pulled off cute and playful while still being courageous and strong willed, making Yu Ran a very complex character to play. They also turned her character into a princess to give her a more practical part in the story.
Fans of the novel may be disappointed that Jiang Nan had to omit a lot of things from the book when he was working on the TV adaptation. But here’s the thing. An adaptation is just that. An adaptation. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same. I think that as long as the key elements of the story are there, then it’s all good. What do guys think?