Why Black & White the Movie is DOA in My Eyes
One of my favorite dramas of 2009 was the TW-drama Black & White 痞子英雄. I went into it with zero expectations – I never like Vic Zhou before, never watched the female leads in anything prior to this, and no one on the planet had ever heard of Mark Chao.
Fast forward three sleepless nights later, after marathoning the drama like I’ve rarely done before, Vic is now one of my fave TW-actors, and Mark blew my mind as a newbie actor making his acting debut.
B&W the drama is an excellent drama in any country, but coming out of TW it is simply groundbreaking. The ending of B&W left the doors wide open for a sequel or a movie to tie up loose ends, and more importantly, to advance the story further since the characters were so intriguing and their stories yet to be finished.
Immediately after the drama ended (the ratings were okay, but the drama got a lot of recognition and cultish status afterwards), PD Tsai stated that he was planning to make B&W the movie, and that his entire cast was coming back (well, the ones who weren’t 6 feet underground at the end of the drama, that is).
Fans of B&W rejoiced the world over, a movie was a great idea. Bigger budget, tighter storylines, and a chance to see Mark Chao’s abtastic glory on the big screen. Everything was going along swimmingly, Vic and Mark seemed like bosom buddies in real life to mirror their characters in the drama. Both were nominated for the Golden Bell Awards for Best Actor, which was rare but not crazy awkward.
Everyone expected Vic to bag the award. And then the other shoe dropped, first time actor Mark Chao ends up taking home the Best Actor Award, and Vic is left clapping in the audience. Silence and shock reigns, and even I was flabbergasted at this – Mark was great as Yin Xiong 英雄, but Vic was mesmerizing as Chen Zai Tian, the titular Pi Zi 痞子 character.
Then all hell breaks loose – Vic and Mark are not talking, Vic is holed up inside his apartment depressed, Vic is backing out of the movie, etc. Of all the rumors to swirl around during that time, the only one ever confirmed to be true was indeed the worst rumor of all, Vic would NOT be doing the movie. Which is if you’ve watched the drama, patently ridiculously to go ahead with said movie– it’s like deciding to remake Rambo, except the character of Rambo won’t show up in the movie. Say it with me here – WTH?!?
Both sides claimed it was a “scheduling” problem, that Vic had agreed to do other projects already that would make him unavailable to shoot the movie. The funny thing is, the movie then got delayed one after another, until almost an entire YEAR has passed since it was supposed to have started shooting. I was already extremely PO’d that Vic wasn’t doing the movie, but since then, the movie has sunk to new lows.
The movie has now changed its Chinese name from 痞子英雄 (Pi Zi Yin Xiong – which was the nickname and name of the two characters played by Vic and Mark, respectively) to 全面開戰 (which I shall tentatively translate as Commencing Battle on All Sides). PD Tsai initially wanted to make a movie trilogy (like the Infernal Affairs trilogy), with the first movie a prequel to the drama so that Mark’s character has a different police partner.
But with the co-financing by a Mainland company, the change to the movie’s name (they don’t like the word 痞子which means ruffian, riffraff, or goon), and the lack of a second male lead, this movie looks increasingly DOA. The two ladies, Ivy Chen and Janine Chang, are getting less screen time as well (perhaps a cameo only), and a new leading lady, newbie HK model/actress/Huang Xiao Ming girlfriend Angelababy has been cast in movie (see their training photos below).
Why did I devote all this time to writing about an impending movie that is pissing me off? Because of how much I love B&W the drama, and how everything that has happened since the drama aired has been one negative blow after another. I understand Vic’s desire NOT to do the movie, and it has nothing to do with being a sore loser. He’s ready to move on, and not be associated with a character and performance that ultimately was decreed as not as good as Mark’s.
Whatever happens with B&W the movie, I’m done following it unless I hear that it’s miraculously great. But even then, it will probably have minimal connection with the story of the drama (which was really Vic’s story through and through), and I’m just not that interested in Mark’s story. Vic was the soul of B&W the drama (and Mark it’s heart), and Vic’s sad soul was the one thing that I longed to see find closure at the end of the drama.
I shall send B&W the drama off with a farethewell (thanks for a great drama!) and a slashy picture of Vic and Mark (whose bromance lit up the screen).