Selasa, 8 April 2014

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Chinese craze for My Love From The Star

Posted: 06 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

South Korean hit TV drama spawns big business in China.

My Love From The Star has concluded with an unexpected happy ending, but the craze for the South Korean television hit continues in China, sweeping sectors from fashion to finance.

In a country of 1.3 billion, the love story between two neighbours in a luxury residential complex – Cheon Song Yi, an actress played by Gianna Jun, and Do Min Joon, an alien professor played by Kim Soo Hyun – has been viewed more than two billion times online on websites including PPS and iQiyi since it debuted in December last year, says Beijing Youth Daily.

The show has become big business in China, inspiring a wave of consumption and advertising, says the report.

On Taobao, the country's equivalent of eBay, the list of Star-related items – clothing, bags, shoes, watches, glasses and jewellery – grew as Cheon, a clothes horse, changed in and out of designer togs through the show, says the daily.

Besides major labels such as Dior and Gucci, Cheon's wardrobe also featured the likes of Paul Smith and Didier Dubot, which were not widely known to Chinese consumers months ago.

After she wore silver Jimmy Choo heels in the second episode, Taobao was blanketed in photos of the shoes. A seller of Jimmy Choo shoes said she sold three pairs of silver heels in a day. Last year, she sold three pairs in a year. Lookalikes of the shoe sold faster on the website, 100 pairs in a few days, says the report.

The show has also started a fad for eating fried chicken, which Cheon does, and reading (or owning) books such as Korean fantasy classic The Cloud Dream Of The Nine, which Do does.

But the fans do not just want to spend money like Cheon, they also want to make money like Do.

In the show, the professor has lived on Earth for 400 years and accumulated a fortune in real estate and antiques. Accordingly, one of the most popular posts on the Chinese Internet is an investment guide inspired by the character, says the daily.

Financial companies such as China Merchants Bank have climbed on the Star bandwagon too.

As the show moved towards the will-they-or-won't-they ending – will Do stay on Earth and continue to protect Cheon? – China Merchants Bank stepped into the shoes of Do in online publicity, promising consumers that it will take over from the professor and watch over them, says the report.

The last episode of the show aired in South Korea, and online in China, recently. In Korea, it was watched by more than 28% of viewers. In China, it was played more than 700,000 times on PPS alone.

According to data released by iQiyi, Star is a phenomenon driven in China by educated women under 35. Viewers aged 35 or younger made up more than 93% of the audience, and women, more than 79% .

Viewers with a bachelor degree or higher accounted for more than 58% of the audience. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

The marathon rerun of My Love From The Star is on ONE HD (Astro Ch 393), at 6.30pm.

'Hell On Wheels' tackles the dark and dirty side of history

Posted: 06 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Western saga Hell On Wheels examines racism, greed and politics.

The team behind Hell On Wheels compares its first two seasons to the first few miles of the transcontinental railroad that serves as a backdrop for this gritty Western – both were the start of something much bigger to come.

Hell On Wheels has all the trappings of a typical Western from six-shooters to horses. But it's not about the guys who wear white or black hats.

Instead, it's an examination of the racism, greed and politics that drove people during that period and continues today. How those topics will be broached can be seen as the third season of Hell On Wheels.

At the centre of this historical tempest is Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a Civil War soldier who initially joined the crew building the railroad as a way of finding revenge against the men who killed his wife.

Season Three opens in 1867, with Bohannon focused more on the world of big business, religion and the new role of Wall Street in the White House.

Mount has watched the show tackle the dark and dirty side of history from the first episode.

"I started with the idea this was a story about a guy seeking revenge, but slowly during the first season, I realised I'm playing a guy who has post-traumatic stress syndrome," Mount says.

"He's one of those soldiers who's dealing with that through conflict. He's trying to keep fighting the war. He doesn't know how to function outside the war.

"That was the journey in the first season for me. The second season was seeing his hubris play out for a time and at the end realising this metaphor of the railroad being a war was actually quite a destructive idea."

Bohannon reached the emotional bottom at the end of Season Two and Season Three will be about the reconstruction of his life.

Mount has worked in TV and films since 1999, but the combination of the physicality of the Western genre coupled with the deep emotional tribulations of the character has been the most draining work he's done.

He pushes himself to handle the challenge because of what Hell On Wheels has become.

"I think we have an opportunity here to tell a very uplifting story about people who were trying to kill each other just months before, or own each other just months before, who now have to work together," Mount says.

"I think when a television show functions best it can provide either a platform or a metaphor for talk in front of the watercooler."

One of the biggest elements of Hell On Wheels is racism and no one deals with that more than Elam Ferguson (played by Common), an emancipated slave working to achieve true freedom, but living in a world consumed by prejudice.

The show's set in a post-Civil War era, but the discussions of race resonate in contemporary times.

The fact the show shines a line on prejudice is one of the things Common likes best about the series.

"The way we find solutions to our ills is to be able to say, 'I have this issue and let's talk about it. Let's not act like it's not there'. We all have experienced prejudice. Our show is putting all those things out there."

Common has worked in movies and guest-starred on TV shows, but this is the longest he's played a singe role. He said he likes that his character shows growth in a time when it was so difficult for ex-slaves to find a better life.

In researching the role, Common found examples of ex-slaves who dared to dream big and that's the way he's played Elam. Common stresses Elam should not be described as a slave, but as a man who was enslaved.

"When I was asked what I wanted out of the character, I told them I wanted Elam to be seen as a human being," Common says.

"We should all have empathy for a person who was enslaved, but that doesn't make the person perfect.

"Once they get out of being a slave, there's also an inner conflict they have to go through and I think the writers have done a brilliant job with that. What's beautiful about Elam is that the scope of what he wants to achieve always rises."

How both men's lives continue to be rebuilt will continue with each mile of track completed during the new season of Hell On Wheels. – The Fresno Bee/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Hell On Wheels Season Three premieres on April 10 at 10pm on Sundance Channel (Astro Ch 438).

Tatiana Maslany: Beside herself

Posted: 05 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Join Tatiana Maslany as she takes us on a head-spinning and twisty ride in Orphan Black.

THE life of an actor can be either feast or famine. Many can't take the erratic nature and fallout. But Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany isn't one of them.

"The beginning of (2012) I did a play in January and was really jazzed about it, it got a great reception," the actress says.

"And then I went to LA for pilot season and had the most difficult time. I tried out for loads of things and thought I was right and thought I did an interesting audition or whatever, and then you don't hear anything – and as it's the hardest as far as rejection goes. But I think we're kind of addicted to that high-low thing."

That high-low thing kept her unemployed for almost a year. "And then I got Orphan Black. And it's the best job I've ever got because the part is insanely exciting. The part is like something I would've dreamed about and never thought I could actually do or be seen for."

For her effort in this sci-fi, Maslany received a Golden Globe nomination last year in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series (Drama) category.

The series revolves around Maslany's character, a runaway who returns to her hometown only to be pulled into a conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her.

"I had to go in with an accent, and the character is this kind of London, working-class girl. She's a hustler and she's rough and she's lived hard and has a lot of regrets and a lot of flaws. And that's exactly the kind of people I'm fascinated by," she laughs. "It's so far from my world, yet it's human. We all have those flaws."

Though she grew up in the far reaches of Saskatchewan, Canada, Maslany has been performing since she was a kid. "I was doing it in high school professionally. So I would leave school for two months at a time to shoot a movie somewhere in Canada, or shoot a series. Even in high school I thought, 'I really love this, I don't know why.' It was the only thing I do, so that must be it. It's the thing I'm good at or the thing that I've been rewarded for."

Maslany starred in miniseries like World Without End and Heartland, but says she never attended drama school. "It was always working, learning on the job, learning through making big mistakes on the job. And watching bad things and being, like, 'OK. Our mistakes are right there on screen, on celluloid for the rest of our lives.' It's out there and there's lots of movies or TV shows I wish I hadn't done."

A shy person, she says she's been an observer most of her life. "As a kid I was very studious, very nerdy, very tomboyish. I wanted to be a boy. I always thought that was more interesting than being a girl. I had a younger brother who I grew up with who was my best friend and a little, little brother who's 12 years younger than me. So he was a baby that we raised.

"Our family was very close. We went on bike rides all the time and my brothers and I would make movies in the back yard with a video camera and make Claymations and sitcoms. We'd always be creating something – music or free styling or doing improv with our friends in our basement. We were super nerdy in that way," she nods.

"I wasn't rebellious in any way so I think I'm really drawn to characters who have that 'other thing' in them."

Maslany's mother is a translator and her father a woodworker. She's Ukrainian-Polish on one side and German-Austrian-Romanian on the other. Besides English, she speaks French, German and a little Spanish: "I learned it in high school. I've done a lot of dialect work on this show and just having a sense of different cadences and different vocal placements and vowel sounds it definitely helps to know other languages."

At 28, she thinks she's also retained a childlike view of the world. "I didn't grow up really quickly in as much as I was in the industry and had a job very early. I was doing improv with my brothers in the basement and I feel like I didn't want to let go of that sense of play or imagination or wonder. I was kind of wide-eyed and fascinated with the world instead of becoming a jaded teenager."

Glancing at her hands which lie on the table in front of her, she says: "I think I stayed a kid for a long time. I think that especially now that I've gotten over needing to be an adult – that sense of play has started to return to the way I want to work and the way I see the work. Because it is that openness of a child that you need to bring to it. If you don't, then you're not keying into all the cool things your imagination can bring to it." – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Orphan Black premieres on April 7 at 9pm on Lifetime (Astro Ch 709).


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