Isnin, 30 September 2013

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Solving the mystery with Detective Dee


YOUNG Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon is the prequel to the Detective Dee franchise and is directed by Tsui Hark.

The young Dee Renjie (Mark Chao) arrives in the Eastern Capital Luoyang amidst chaos. Several navy warships have been destroyed by what is suspected to be a "sea dragon". The fearful citizens hope to appease the dragon by sacrificing a young maiden, Courtesan Yin (Angelababy).

She was chosen as a victim because she has angered many officials by refusing their advances.

Carina Lau reprises her role as Empress Wu Zetian, who orders Chief Commissioner of the Supreme Court, Yuchi Zhenjin (William Feng) to investigate the attack against the ships and solve the case in 10 days or lose his head.

He teams up with Dee, aided by a young doctor Shatuo (Lin Gengxin) to solve the mystery.

With Yuchi's martial arts prowess, Shatuo's medical skills, the trioraces against time to crack the case.

This is the first feature film by Huayi Brothers Media that is shot in stereoscopic 3D; its previous films like Painted Skin: The Resurrection and Taichi series were converted to 3D in post-production. (Unfortunately, the 3D version of Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon is not screened in Malaysia.) – Oh Ing Yeen

Related story:

Angelababy and Mark Chao make a Dee-lightful couple

Angelababy and Mark Chao make a Dee-lightful couple


Third time's the charm for Angelababy and Mark Chao as the actors reunite in the prequel to the popular Detective Dee film.

TAIWANESE-BORN actor Mark Chao was stumped when researching for his character Detective Dee in Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon.

"I tried to look up Detective Dee in history books to find out more about the character. However most of the books are about Empress Wu Zetian; there was not much about Detective Dee," the handsome actor tells Star2 in an interview in Hong Kong.

"It was only written in novels about how he cracks cases, hence I have to come up with my own way of portraying the character."

Dee Renjie or Detective Dee is China's answer to Sherlock Holmes, as director Tsui Hark puts it. Dee has a remarkable memory and uses his deduction skills to solve cases.

But aside from these set of skills, Chao feels that Dee has a strong sense of justice and is a brave, honest person.

Although Chao is a fast rising male star in the Chinese movie industry, did he feel the pressure of assuming the role of the younger Detective Dee, a role which beloved veteran star Andy Lau played in the first movie?

"I have much respect for Andy Lau. The stress actually comes from whether I can fulfil the director's expectations," Chao explains.

This is the third collaboration between Chao and Hong Kong starlet Angelababy. They first acted alongside each other in Han Yan's, aptly titled, First Time where Chao played Angelababy's love interest. From their banter during Star2's interview, which was held before the film's gala premiere in Hong Kong last Tuesday, it was evident that these two stars, who describe their relationship as "brothers", share a common understanding that has enabled them to work well together in the movie.

"While waiting on the set, she would fidget and start bugging me. I would be waiting patiently with a book but she would start poking me," Chao reveals.

Angelababy quickly interjects: "We are all young; how could you be reading when everyone is having fun and talking while waiting on the set."

He is very mature and one could see it from the way he carries himself."

In Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon, Angela Yeung, or Angelababy as she is known in the industry, plays the most beautiful woman in the Eastern Capital, a courtesan desired by many.

Angelababy seems born to play this role as the actress is just as popular in real life.

In 2007, the Shanghai-born beauty entered the entertainment industry in Hong Kong first as a model and then made her acting debut in Pang Ho-cheung's Trivial Matters. It was her role in 2010's Hot Summer Days that got her noticed and ever since then, Angelababy has become hot property.

It is no secret that many beautiful actresses in Hong Kong are cast in movies as eye candy. Despite her previous roles in romantic films, Angelababy is not afraid of being typecast as the pretty face or the damsel in distress.

"In First Time (where she plays someone who suffers from neuromuscular disease), I played a strong willed character. I even tried my hand as a martial artist in Stephen Fung's Taichi movies (Taichi 0 and Taichi Hero)," she reasons.

Angelababy for Star2 cover

Angelababy is not afraid of being typecast as the pretty face or the damsel in distress.

Angelababy has been modelling since 14 and is regarded as an Asian fashion icon. As someone who is also active in the fashion scene, the actress has a lot to say about the period pieces she wore for her role as Courtesan Yin in Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon.

"The Tang Dynasty had an extensive cultural exchange so that explains why the costumes are sexy. Plus, my character is a foreigner," she says To prepare for the role, the actress learned about tea ceremonies and began dance training three months before the shoot.

"I have also looked online about Tang Dynasty paintings and learned how to pose like a courtesan."

She reveals that director Tsui Hark would also give her tips on how to act like an enchanting courtesan.

"To attract men, he said, it's all in the eyes; you must show that you care for no one (but him)."

Co-star Chao says: "I was surprised to see Angelababy when she first appeared on set as Courtesan Yin. I thought to myself, 'What happened to my brother?'

"This is the first time I see extras not needing any cue; they were dumbfounded the moment she appeared (yet) they could act without any further instructions."

Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon is currently playing in cinemas nationwide.

Related story:

Solving the mystery with Detective Dee

Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf and gang went camping


The actors shared some male-bonding time at an English countryside.

FURY co-stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal and Kevin Vance more or less had no choice but to rough it out together when director David Ayer dropped them off in the wilderness without the cellphones, according to entertainment magazine Us Weekly.

According to a source cited by the magazine, the actors spent three nights at a forest in England's Buckinghamshire county.

"They play soldiers in the same World War II troop, and the director wanted to make sure they bonded," the source was quoted as saying.

Fury revolves around a group of American soldiers posted in Germany during World War II who embark on a brave mission. It is set to be released in late 2014.

The source goes on to explain that the actors spent their days foraging for food in the forest, and that they huddled up together in their tents to keep warm (the temperature was about 10°C).

Meanwhile, Scott Eastwood, who also stars in the movie, did not join his castmates but seemed to love being on set, judging from his selfies on Instagram. The up-and-coming actor, model and son of Clint Eastwood posted pictures of himself shirtless and flexing his muscles in front of a military tank. His caption: "Trying to outflex the tank. Not working."

Eastwood recently became one of the most-searched celebrities on the Internet, thanks to a feature in Town & Country magazine's October issue, in which he replicated a few of his formerly estranged father's iconic poses.

The actor has been busy of late, working in movies like The Perfect Wave, Mercury Plains, Dawn Patrol and Boulevard H, as well as appearing in TV shows like Chicago Fire and its spin-off, Chicago PD. — Melody L. Goh

One of the Scott Eastwood pictures featured in Town & Country magazine.


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