Finally making it out of limbo and into the big screens this month is the movie Catman 我爱喵星人 headlined by Oh Se-hun of Kpop group EXO and Janice Wu Qian.
As one of the films put on an indefinite hiatus thanks to the Hallyu ban that saw a lot of projects gathering dust on cupboards indefinitely, Catman has been waiting in the wings for five years already. The project has in fact completed filming in South Korea way back in 2016.
Now that it’s coming out next week (March 14), the film’s stakeholders must surely be breathing a huge sigh of relief whilst finally granting fans a look at Sehun and his super adorable fluffy cat alter ego.
End of the Hallyu Ban?
Since 2016, an unofficial ban on anything remotely related to Hallyu has been in place to signify China’s protest against South Korea’s decision to back the US built THAAD missile defense system. That has meant no Korean film or Korean music group has been granted access to the Chinese market, ensuring a long list of projects put on the backburner at least until relations between the two countries thaw out.
It appears however that things are slowly looking up, what with the Chinese-South Korean co-produced film Catman subsequently given the green light and securing a release date. The timing also coincides with a partnership deal inked recently between Chinese State network CCTV and South Korea’s KBS in February 2021.
Does this now mean the light at the end of the tunnel is fast approaching for the many dramas suddenly put on hiatus? I may be jumping the gun here a little, but I’m super excited with how optimistic things are shaping up to be.
Oh Se-hun stars as the titular part-man part-cat Liang Qu in this quirky fantasy romance. Cold and arrogant, he was magically cursed by a cat during his teens. Meanwhile, Sehun’s romantic partner in the film Janice Wu Qian stars as Miao Xiaowan, a developer who created an app making it easier for cats and their hoomans to understand each other. Unfortunately for Xiaowan, Liang Qu who is an animal expert when in human form publicly gave her app a big thumbs down. Hoping to get him to change his mind and retract his bad review, Xiaowan becomes his temporary assistant to learn “cat language”.
Sharp eyed Netizens will no doubt also recognise the familiar face of Song Weilong who was just 17 at the time of filming and plays a role that also has him transforming into a cat who has a close bond with Liang Qu. There’s also Kiki Xu Jiaqi who has gone on to earn fame as a member of girl group THE9 after her participation in the talent survival show Youth with You 2 last year.
Be sure to catch Catman as it hits theatres on March 14, 2021. Update: According to reports, a staff has confirmed that the movie has been postponed. No reason was given.