On Thursday, the forthcoming animated film JiangZiya: Legend of Deification, the follow-up of this year's highest-grossing hit Ne Zha, released its first trailer. As the latest installment of the so-called "Fengshen Cinematic Universe", the film has stirred a sensation online.
The film is adapted from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) novel Fengshen Yanyi (Investiture of the Gods). Jiang Ziya is depicted as a 72-year-old man who decides to assist the ruler of Xiqi kingdom to turn over the tyranny of Emperor Zhou. But in the trailer of the new film, Jiang looks much younger. He looks like a middle-aged man who insists on following his heart despite having a complex past.
Earlier this week, director Wuershan's live-action epic Fengshen Trilogy also announced the cast of two new roles, respectively actor Chen Kun as Yuanshi Tianzu and actress Yuan Quan as Queen Jiang. Before that, several major roles were also revealed, such as actor Huang Bo as Jiang Ziya, Kris Phillips as King Yinshou.
Besides, actor Liuxiao Lingtong will reportedly join hands with actor Ma Dehua to reprise their most classic roles — the Monkey King and Zhu Bajie — in the new movie Journey to the West. They will lend their faces for the motion-capture cinematography.
Currently, China has the world's most theater screens and is the world's second-largest movie market in terms of annual box office receipts. The rise of domestic film industry means the fantastic spectacles fictionalized in China's most acclaimed literature works can be brought to big screen.
Interestingly, when China's film and TV industry was just taking off, the two novels were adapted to TV series in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But the special effects weren’t that good because the budgets were limited.
With the expansion of special effect sector in domestic film industry, insiders are now more confident to build a cinematic franchise to gather the most influential characters in Chinese mythologies. It is also believed that only Chinese filmmakers can convey the cultural spirit and capture the aesthetic nuance rooted from their own civilization.