Seven years after the original, the xianxia classic The Journey of Flower 花千骨 is getting itself a movie remake helmed by Chen Duling as Hua Qiangu and Li Chengbin (Toby Lee) as the immortal Bai Zihua. The original series starring Wallace Huo and Zhao Liying in a tragic love story between master and disciple set a big record when it first hit screens in 2015. It became the first drama series to garner more than a whopping 20 billion views. No wonder then producers chose what has now quickly become a modern day classic to turn into a film.
The trailer to the remake is finally out this week showing the eventual transformation of Hua Qiangu from good to bad. The cast reveal understandably drew much discussion from Chen Duling and questions about whether she matched the role and has the acting chops for it down to the whole cast.
But more than that, what became such a hotly discussed topic online was the apparent “unsuitability” of Taiwanese actor Li Chengbin as Bai Zihua. Like his series predecessor in the TV version, Li Chengbin wore snow white robes in the trailer. However, the general consensus amongst naysayers is that his features are just not suited for costumed dramas and would shine better in modern ones.
“Doesn’t give off very immortal vibes, more earthy and human like” commented a Netizen. Others just couldn’t help comparing it with Wallace Huo’s version of Bai Zihua and saying how much better he looked. Like most remakes, comparison is the inevitable pitfall of redoing a classic. In this case, many are of the opinion that Wallace better embodied the role of the cold-hearted immortal with a secret soft spot for those under his protection. Funnily though, didn’t lots of people bash Wallace for being too unemotional and po-faced when the series came out?
On to the Supporting Cast
Whatever the case, the film certainly drew attention on social media on the day of the trailer’s release. Any publicity is still publicity right? Nevertheless, I do hope audiences are still willing to give the film a chance when it comes out.
Meanwhile, Mao Zijun with his long hair is the new Sha Jiejie who in the original series is the beloved “baddie” played by Ma Ke. Like her predecessor An Yuexi, Lai Meiyun brings on cutesy vibes to play Tang Bao. Zhang Zining appears as princess Ni Mantian. Both Lai Meiyun and Zhang Zining debuted together in 2018 as members of Chinese idol girl group Rocket Girls. The Journey of Flower marks their very first movie.