The TV drama remake of "Journey to The West," a famous classic novel of Chinese literature, started shooting last week in Northwest China's Gansu Province.
Leading role Monkey King on the filming set of TV drama"Journey to The West"
Reportedly costing 100 million yuan, the new project had the public questioning whether it could outdo the widely applauded 1980 TV series version, the first - and so far the best - small screen production of the mythological tale.
Zhang Jizhong, producer of the expensive project, said his version would be the "closest" to the original novel, saying, "I think the previous version was obviously influenced by traditional operas, especially the theatrical acting style. This time, I want the lead characters to be more real."
In order to churn out a fantasy blockbuster, Zhang has enlisted a Hollywood team for visual effects and makeup. "I hope that not only the Monkey King, but every character, will present an image equal to the Hollywood level," the producer said.
Zhang Jizhong's work has been controversial since his criticized remakes of classic TV dramas based on Louis Cha's famous martial arts novels. Despite having been ridiculed by TV viewers for many years, most of his remakes received widespread attention during their cable airings.
"Journey to The West" is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Originally published in the 1590s during the Ming Dynasty, it is the story of Buddhist monk Xuanzang's pilgrimage to India to obtain Buddhist sutras during the Tang Dynasty.
Monkey King, or Sun Wukong, the most popular character in the novel, is one of four escorts who agreed to protect Xuan Zang on his journey as atonement for their past sins.