Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Culture / Film and TV

For Chinese legends, Nobody's perfect

By Xu Fan | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-10-16 08:54
Share - WeChat
Scenes from online series I Am Nobody feature Wang Yinglu playing a powerful woman. CHINA DAILY

Drawing inspiration from traditional culture, Hong Kong director breaks new ground with contemporary homegrown superhero tale, Xu Fan reports.

From animation to TV shows and live-action movies, over the decades, Hollywood has established a "world" in which both superheroes and ordinary people reside. For example, audiences can see Spider-Man swinging around on the streets of Brooklyn or Batman silently safeguarding the citizens of Gotham City.

So, could China — a country with thousands of years of history and a rich cultural legacy — have its own superheroes living with us in the modern era? This audacious question has been lingering in the mind of Hong Kong director Derek Hui for a long time.

The answer finally arrived when he was shooting the countryside comedy Coffee or Tea? in 2020. During an occasional gathering with some of the cast and crew, one of the actors, Peng Yuchang, recommended that he read The Outcast, a popular comic series.

Coincidentally, his other directorial effort, the esports-themed Cross Fire, was also being streamed at the time. The lead actor, Lu Han, also mentioned his interest in the tale during a conversation with Hui.

As the renowned comic artist Mi Er's most well-known work, The Outcast tells the story of Zhang Chulan, a college student who encounters Feng Baobao, a mysterious yet powerful woman, after he returns home to find the body of his grandfather, who passed away years ago, has been stolen from the grave.

Peng Yuchang (right) playing the protagonist, a college student. CHINA DAILY

After the terrifying discovery that the thieves are a group of zombies being manipulated by another young woman, Zhang discovers an even more shocking fact: He was born to be one of the members of the "yiren" (people with special abilities). Sort of like a Chinese equivalent of the mutants in Marvel's X-Men franchise, or the wizards in the Harry Potter stories, they live among ordinary people, just like everyone else, but possess extraordinary powers.

"I read the comic book series when it was first published in 2015.The recommendation triggered my memory, so I reread it and had the idea to adapt it into a series," Hui recalled during an interview with China Daily.

After convincing the investors, Hui and his fellow creators spent more than three years producing the 27-episode online series, I Am Nobody, which is currently available on Youku's domestic and international platforms. It has so far accumulated over 160 million views overseas.

1 2 Next   >>|
Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349