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PHOTO: mm2 Entertainment

[Taipei, 20 July 2020] The cast and crew of the new MORE THAN BLUE 《比悲傷更悲傷的故事》 drama series came together on Saturday 18 July for an auspicious official start of production ceremony. 

More Than Blue 《比悲傷更悲傷的故事》 drama series is produced by mm2 Entertainment Taiwan (满满额),  in association with Good Movie Co. Ltd, and co-produced by Medialink Holdings Ltd, 1 Production Film Co. and Abico Group. The 10-episode romantic series tells the story of star-crossed lovers, Chang Che-Kai and Sung Yuan-Yuan in their student days and is a story of the 2018 Taiwanese film of the same name. The 2018 film was an adaptation of a 2009 Korean romantic movie. The Taiwanese film was hugely successful because it was able to convey the strong core storyline of the Korean original with elements of contemporary Chinese culture. The film broke box office records in Taiwan 2018, and holds records for the highest grossing Taiwanese film of 2018 in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. 

Good Movie’s General Manager and Producer Rita Chuang 庄淳淳says, “Our most important goal is to make the series more moving and more emotional than the original movie. So, we go deeper into the story, to sincerely touch the feelings of the audience.”

Screenwriter Hermes Lu 吕安弦has created a more intricate storyline for the series, following main characters Chang Che-Kai and Sung Yuan-Yuan’s budding relationship in their college years. The plot is an intimate study that allows audiences to get to know and appreciate the sincere emotions of the couple. At the same time the new plot parallels what happens in the original movie version, giving greater context to the characters. “I am very thankful and glad that More Than Blue is being adapted into a drama series. The 10-episode length of the series gives the screenwriting team the opportunity to deliver a more complete storyline that will move the hearts of the audience. Hopefully, when the drama is released, the audience will be so moved that they will need a packet of tissue to wipe their tears during every episode,” says Hermes Lu.

More Than Blue director Gavin Lin 林孝谦 returns to produce the drama series. “We have invested a lot of effort into the preparation of the drama – we have visited hundreds of sets, counted hundreds of outfits, rehearsed for over a month and rewritten the script several times. This was all done to convey the powerful emotion of sadness, that the original film was so known for.” The team has invited up-and-coming Director Pei-Ju Hsieh 谢沛如, who directed Heavy Craving《大饿》, to work on the drama series. Gavin Lin adds, “I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with Director Pei-Ju Hsieh. This time I’ve even prepared 24 Canon cameras which we can use if she encounters issues during filming, though hopefully this won’t be the case!”

Director Pei-Ju Hsieh expresses that the ending of the original Taiwanese film moved her to tears, and she never expected that she would have the opportunity to participate in the filming of the drama series adaptation. “I don’t usually work on films with emotionally heavy romantic plots, so I really wanted to try working on this genre for a change. As this is my first time directing a drama series, I’m very nervous! Especially because this is an adaptation of a film that was so well-received. I’d like to thank everyone in the team for taking care of me.” 

In response to questions about how the drama series will differ from the original film, Director Pei-Ju Hsieh says, “We would definitely like for the classic scenes from the original film to reappear in the drama, such as the bridge scene, wedding scene and running on the field scene. However, since it is a drama series, we also hope to incorporate more liveliness in the interactions between the characters. This way, the cheerfulness in the beginning of the drama will distinctly contrast the tragic developments in the later parts of the drama.”

Gingle Wang 王净, who was recently been awarded Best Actress at the 2020 Taipei Film Festival, will be playing More Than Blue’s Sung Yuan-Yuan in the drama series adaptation. Producer Gavin Lin expresses that he had already anticipated this casting. “On the morning of the awards ceremony, I sent words of encouragement to Gingle Wang and Eleven Yao, telling them to prepare their thank-you speeches, and in the end they really did receive awards. What’s even more coincidental is that Ivy Chen, who played Sung Yuan-Yuan in the original More Than Blue, won Best Actress at the 2010 Taipei Film Festival, so it’s almost as if Gingle Wang has inherited the role of Yuan-Yuan from Ivy Chen!” 

Director Pei-Ju Hsieh thinks that Gingle Wang is well-suited to play Yuan-Yuan’s eccentric character. “I hope that Gingle Wang will be able to bring out the more lively and cute side of Yuan-Yuan,” says Pei-Ju Hsieh. Gingle Wang, who has participated in several film remakes and calls herself the “Film Remake Princess”, admits that she is practicing hard to recreate Yuan-Yuan’s ability to ‘cry in one second’. She comments, “This will probably be the most difficult obstacle for me to overcome while filming this drama.” As Yuan-Yuan’s character works as a writer in the film, the multi-talented Gingle Wang has also been doing research on writing. “Fortunately, portraying the life of a writer will be an experience that I can learn from and apply to my own life,” she adds.

Fandy Fan 范少勳, who was awarded Best New Performer at the 2019 Golden Horse Awards, will be playing Chang Che-Kai in the drama series. Producer Gavin Lin and Fandy Fan coincidentally share a similar taste - it turns out that Gavin Lin likes to use the smell of traditional essential oil to help actors invoke a sense of nostalgia, and Fandy Fan also likes to match particular scents to his roles. Director Pei-Ju Hsieh also likes the fact that Fandy Fan has a sense of proudness. “When you look at his face, you get the impression that he has a temper and exudes authority, and you can sense an air of arrogance around him. I really like that,” she says. 

The role of a terminally ill musician is a new and refreshing change for Fandy Fan. In order to better understand his character’s terminal illness, he even purchased a book about leukemia. “I’ve never been a part of the music scene, so playing the guitar and looking cool in the drama would be a fun experience,” he comments. As he doesn’t know how to play the guitar, he adds, “I don’t know how to play the guitar at all, so up until now I’ve been diligently learning how to play it, though it still makes my fingertips numb. Unfortunately, I will have to play two new songs on the guitar in the drama, which will be quite difficult.”

The drama series adaptation of More Than Blue will be Gingle Wang and Fandy Fan’s first time working with each other. Gingle Wang praises Fandy Fan’s professionalism, “His actions and expressions are very well-aligned with his character’s, such as his big eyes and honest expression, and you can tell at one glance what kind of emotion he is trying to convey. When I saw him in We Are Champions《下半場》, I thought he did a good job and his acting was very impressive.” 

Fandy Fan also comments that he clicked well with Gingle Wang during their first audition together. “The directors have made quite a few modifications to the scenes, but regardless of the different styles of dialogue and nuances, I feel that she always has a very good understanding of the scenes,” says Fandy Fan. However, he admits that he hasn’t seen her award-winning film Detention《返校》. “I don’t dare to watch ghost films! Yes, I’m scared of them! I’m afraid that after I watch ghost films, the eerie sounds and scenes will be imprinted in my mind.” He admits that he is so afraid of ghost films that he doesn’t even dare to watch films like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. 

With the strong ensemble cast and experienced production team behind the original film, More Than Blue is expected to be one of the most highly anticipated Taiwanese series of 2021. The estimated 10-episode series has a production budget of 180 million Taiwan dollars. The series stars Gingle Wang 王净, Fandy Fan 范少勳, Bo-Chieh Wang 王柏杰, Ivy Shao 邵雨薇, Eleven Yao 姚以缇, Figaro Tseng 曾少宗, Phoebe Yuan 袁艾菲, Ma Nien-Hsien 马念先, Tsai Jia-yin 蔡嘉茵and Runyin Bai 白润音. The series is expected to be shown in 2021 and negotiations with major international entertainment platforms are still ongoing. International distribution for More Than Blue will be handled jointly by mm2 Entertainment Taiwan and Medialink Entertainment Ltd. 

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