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55th Golden Horse Awards Winners

  November 19, 2018  
The 55th Golden Horse Awards were held on November 17 in Taipei. Chinese drama An Elephant Sitting Still, the first and last film by novelist-director Hu Bo, won Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay. Hu's mother accepted the posthumous awards on her son's behalf.

Zhang Yimou won his first Golden Horse Best Director prize for the historical epic Shadow, which was also recognized for Best Visual Effects, Art Direction and Makeup & Costume Design. The blockbuster Chinese comedy-drama Dying to Survive took three major awards: Best New Director for Wen Muye, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Xu Zheng, who played the real life-inspired protagonist that smuggled low-cost cancer medicine into China.

Hometown favorite Hsieh Ying Hsuan was crowned Best Actress for her role in Dear EX as a widow who learns that her husband left his insurance payout to his gay partner. The Taiwan drama also won Best Original Film Song (Lee Ying Hun's "Bali Song") and Best Editing.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress went to Hong Kong actor Ben Yuen from Tracey and Taiwan actress Ding Ning from Cities of Last Things. Child actor Si Pangoyod from Long Time No Sea won Best New Performer. Bi Gan's Long Day's Journey into Night took two awards, Best Cinematography and Best Original Film Score, while Jiang Wen's Hidden Man won Best Action Choreography.

Sung Hsin Yin's On Happiness Road, the Grand Prize winner of the 20th Taipei Film Awards, won Best Animation Feature. Our Youth in Taiwan about activists of the Sunflower Movement won Best Documentary. The Best Short Film prizes went to A Final Reunion (Live-Action) and Where Am I Going (Animated). Veteran editor Liao Ching Sung was honored with the Special Contribution Award, and focus puller Saburo Liu was named the Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year.

Text / Sanwei

2018 Kohaku lineup: King & Prince & Daoko debut; Da Pump & Twice return

  November 15, 2018  
Japan broadcaster NHK has announced the participating artists for the 69th Kohaku Uta Gassen New Year's Eve gala. The 2018 lineup of the famous show features 42 acts, including six artists making their Kohaku debuts.

New Johnny's group King & Prince will complete their rookie year with their Kohaku debut, joining labelmates Arashi (10th appearance), Kanjani8 (7th), Hey! Say! Jump (2nd) and Sexy Zone (6th) on the white team. Jazz rock band Suchmos and music group Junretsu will also debut with the white team, along with rockers Yoshiki and HYDE who will participate as the collaborative unit Yoshiki feat. HYDE for the first time. Debuting performers for the red team are singer-songwriter Aimyon and Daoko, who broke out last year with Uchiage Hanabi.

Da Pump, who made a comeback in 2018 with the viral hit U.S.A., returns to Kohaku 16 years after the group's last appearance. aiko will make her first appearance in five years, and EXILE and ikimonogakari are also back after resuming activities this year. K-pop group Twice returns for a second consecutive year after making their Kohaku debut last year.

Other notable returning performers include AKB48 (11th appearance), Fukuyama Masaharu (11th), Hikawa Kiysohi (19th), Hoshino Gen (4th), Keyakizaka46 (3rd), Little Glee Monster (2nd), Matsuda Seiko (22nd), Matsutoya Yumi (3rd), Misia (3rd), Miura Daichi (2nd), Nishino Kana (9th), Nogizaka46 (4th), Perfume (11th), Sandaime J Soul Brothers (7th), Sekai no Owari (5th), Superfly (3rd) and Yuzu (9th).

Besides the competition lineup, Sheena Ringo will collaborate in a special project with Elephant Kashimashi frontman Miyamoto Hiroji, and pop culture phenoms Aqours and Touken Danshi will appear for special performances. Arashi's Sakurai Sho and actress Hirose Suzu will be the hosts for the white and red teams, respectively.

An annual tradition since 1951, the Kohaku Uta Gassen ("The Red and White Song Battle") features Japan's most popular musical acts (split into red and white teams) in a friendly competition that involves performing hit songs for viewer votes. Kohaku remains one of the highest-rated television programs on Japanese television, and the preferred New Year's Eve pastime for many Japanese families. The show can also have significant impact on music sales, as certain songs experience an increase in sales after being exposed to a nationwide audience on the show.

Text / Sanwei

2018 MAMA announces award categories for Premiere in Korea ceremony

  November 14, 2018  
One of the biggest events in K-pop and Asian music every year, the 2018 edition of the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) will be held in December over three ceremonies in different regions. The multi-day event kicks off with the 2018 Mama Premiere in Korea on December 10 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Organizer CJ ENM has announced that the seven award categories that will be presented at the Mama Premiere in Korea are Best New Male Artist, Best New Female Artist and Best New Asian Artist for five regions.

As revealed earlier in the month, the nominees for Best New Male Artist are HAON, Hyeong Seop X Eui Woong, Kim Dong Han, Stray Kids, The Boyz and VINZEN, while nominees for Best New Female Artist are fromis_9, (G)I-DLE, GWSN, IZ*ONE, Loona and Nature. The newly added Best New Asian Artist prizes for different regions are selected based on data provided by Oricon (Japan), Tencent Music (China), KKBOX (Hong Kong, Taiwan), JOOX (Indonesia, Thailand) and ZING MP3 (Vietnam).

The nominees for Best New Male Artist and Best New Female Artist will participate in the MAMA Premiere in Korea ceremony along with other Asian rookie artists, including Dean Ting from China, Hiragana Keyakizaka46 from Japan, Marion Jola from Indonesia, Orange from Vietnam, and The Toys from Thailand. Wanna One, last year's Best New Male Artist winner, is also confirmed to appear at the show.

After the Premiere in Korea, MAMA will continue with 2018 MAMA Fans' Choice in Japan at the Saitama Super Arena on December 12 and 2018 MAMA in Hong Kong at the Asia-World Arena on December 14.

Online voting for MAMA's major K-pop award categories will be open until December 9. For more information and online voting, refer to the official site:

Text / Sanwei

Operation Red Sea sweeps 35th Hundred Flowers Awards

  November 13, 2018  
China's 35th Hundred Flowers Awards was held on November 10 in Foshan as the closing event of the 27th Golden Rooster & Hundred Flowers Film Festival. Dante Lam's military action blockbuster Operation Red Sea swept five prizes including Best Film, Best Director,Best Supporting Actor for Du Jiang, Best Supporting Actress for Jiang Luxia, and Best Newcomer for Wang Yutian.

Wu Jing won Best Actor for his starring role in his record-breaking action blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2. Veteran actress Chen Yu edged out Soul Mate's Golden Horse winners Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun to win Best Actress for her performance in the Miao Yue-directed drama Hold Your Hands.

Soul Mate was recognized for Best Screenplay while the Andrew Lau-directed historical epic Founding of an Army received the Outstanding Film Award.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Yoo Jung & Yoon Kyun Sang's Clean With Passion For Now airs in November

  November 7, 2018  
JTBC's upcoming romantic comedy series Clean With Passion For Now starring Kim Yoo Jung, Yoon Kyun Sang and Song Jae Rim is set to air on November 26.

Adapted from the popular same-titled web comic, Clean With Passion For Now is produced by Personal Taste director No Jong Chan and Gunman in Joseon screenwriter Han Hee Jung. Kim Yoo Jung makes her small screen return two years after the sensational period drama Love in the Moonlight.

The Rebel star Yoon Kyun Sang plays Jang Sun Kyul, an attractive and wealthy CEO of a cleaning company who suffers from mysophobia. Kim Yoo Jung takes the role of positive and cheerful Gil Oh Sol, who doesn't mind dirtiness and changes Sun Kyul with her bright personality. Song Jae Rim (Our Gab Soon) plays Mr. Choi, also known as Dr. Choi, a mysterious and jobless man who lives on the rooftop of Oh Sol's home. Song Jae Rim's role is a new original character created for the drama series.

The cast of Clean With Passion For Now also includes Kim Won Hae (Player), Min Do Hee (Gangnam Beauty) and Kim Min Kyu (Rich Family's Son). The romantic comedy series is scheduled to broadcast after the end of fantasy melodrama The Beauty Inside.

Text / Violet

IZ*ONE hits highest first week sales among girl group debut albums in Korea

  November 7, 2018  
Produce 48 project group IZ*ONE set a new record for the highest first week sales of a girl group debut album in Korea. The 12-member Korean-Japanese group debuted with their first record COLOR*IZ in October and is currently promoting the title track La Vie en Rose.

According to the Hanteo Chart, from October 29 to November 4, IZ*ONE's debut album sold a total of 80,822 copies. On the first day of release, the album sales exceeded 34,000 copies, which beats the previous record owned by Produce 101 Season 1 project group I.O.I. COLOR*IZ's first week sales record also ranks 9th among all Korean girl group albums, following releases from Twice, BLACKPINK and Girls' Generation.

In Japan, IZ*ONE achieved first place on Oricon's weekly physical and digital album rankings with just import sales of COLOR*IZ. This makes the group the first rookie act ever to top the Oricon Chart with a debut album.

Text / Violet

39th Blue Dragon Film Awards Nominations

  November 1, 2018  
Nominations for the 39th Blue Dragon Film Awards were announced on November 1. Jang Joon Hwan's political thriller 1987: When the Day Comes garnered ten nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Kim Yong Hwa's Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days and Yoon Jong Bin's The Spy Gone North follow with nine nominations each, including Best Film and Best Director.

After winning Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards, Kim Yoon Seok is again recognized in the same category for his performance in 1987: When the Day Comes, along with Yoo Ah In (Burning), Lee Sung Min (The Spy Gone North), Ju Ji Hoon (Dark Figure of Crime) and Ha Jung Woo (Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days). Writer-director Yim Soon Rye's Little Forest is nominated in the Best Film and Best Director categories. The film's star Kim Tae Ri will compete against Kim Hee Ae (Herstory), Park Bo Young (On Your Wedding Day), Esom (Microhabitat) and Han Ji Min (Miss Baek) for Best Actress.

Ju Ji Hoon, who also appeared in The Spy Gone North, received another nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Other nominees include Kim Dong Wook (Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days), Yu Hae Jin (1987: When the Day Comes), Steven Yeun (Burning) and the late Kim Joo Hyuk (Believer). Lee Joo Young and Jin Seo Yeon from crime action Believer, are up against Kwon So Hyun (Miss Baek), Kim Sun Young (Herstory) and Kim Hyang Gi (Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days ) in the Best Supporting Actress category.

For this year's newcomers, Gonjiam: The Haunted Asylum stars Wi Ha Joon and Park Ji Hyun are nominated for Best New Actor and Actress, respectively. Other nominated rookies include Kim Young Kwang (On Your Wedding Day), Nam Joo Hyuk (The Great Battle), Sung Yoo Bin (Last Child), Lee Ga Sub (The Seeds of Violence), Kim Ga Hee (Park Hwa Young), Kim Da Mi ( The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion), Jeon Yeo Bin (After My Death) and Jeon Jong Seo (Burning). Meanwhile, Kim Eui Seok (After My Death), Kim Tae Kyun (Dark Figure of Crime), Shin Dong Seok (Last Child), Lee Ji Won (Miss Baek) and Jeon Ga Woon (Microhabitat) are shortlisted for Best New Director.

The organizer also stated that as Burning's director Lee Chang Dong and the film's production house refused to participate the ceremony, their nominations for Best Director and Best Movie were removed from the shortlist.

The 39th Blue Dragon Film Awards ceremony will be held on November 23, 2018.

Text / Garden
Translation / Violet

Winners of the 55th Daejong Film Awards

  October 31, 2018  
The winners of the 55th Dae Jong Film Awards were announced on October 22 in Seoul. Lee Chang Dong's suspense thriller Burning was honored with Best Film, while Jang Joon Hwan was named Best Director for his political thriller 1987: When the Day Comes. Hwang Jung Min and Lee Sung Min from The Spy Gone North were both crowned Best Actor. Veteran actress Na Moon Hee again received an award for her performance in I Can Speak, marking her ninth Best Actress win for the film.

The late Kim Joo Hyuk was posthumously recognized with a Special Award and Best Supporting Actor. His Believer co-star Jin Seo Yeon won Best Supporting Actress, her first prize since debut.

Writer-director Jeon Go Woon's feature debut Microhabitat brought her the Best New Director and Best Screenplay awards. Best New Actor and Actress went to Lee Ga Sub from The Seeds of Violence and Kim Da Mi from The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion. Historical drama The Fortress was given three technical awards including Best Cinematography, Best Lighting and Best Music.

Besides winning Best Director, 1987: When the Day Comes also triumphed in the Best Planning category. Fantasy blockbuster Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days won the Technical Award, while Illang: The Wolf Brigade was awarded for Best Costume Design and Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum for Best Editing. Memoir of a Murderer and The Great Battle star Kim Seol Hyun picked up the Woori Bank Star Award.

Text / Garden
Translation / Violet

Legendary wuxia novelist Louis Cha passes away at 94

  October 31, 2018  
Legendary Chinese writer Louis Cha (Jin Yong) passed away on October 30, 2018, at the age of 94. Known for his wuxia novels, the Hong Kong author has sold over 100 million books worldwide and is among the most iconic names in modern Chinese literature.

Louis Cha began writing martial arts serials under the pen name Jin Yong in the fifties while working as a newspaper editor. From 1955 to 1972, he wrote 14 wuxia novels that were first serialized in newspapers before being published in book form. His most famous novel series include The Book and the Sword, The Legend of the Condor Heroes, The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, The Smiling, Proud Wanderer and The Dear and the Cauldron.

Besides being the most representative works of wuxia literature, Cha's massively popular stories have formed the backbone of the wuxia genre at large. His novels have been adapted numerous times into films, television dramas and games, and each new screen adaptation of his classic works continues to generate great interest and response. Many famous stars of different generations have played protagonists of Jin Yong adaptations, including Chow Yun Fat, Tony Leung, Leslie Cheung, Andy Lau, Brigitte Lin, Louis Koo, Adam Cheng, Zhou Xun, Deng Chao, Hu Ge and Huang Xiaoming.

Beyond wuxia fiction, Louis Cha impacted other areas of Hong Kong literature and culture. He was one of the founders of the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao and dedicated many years to editorial work and writing nonfiction and prose. Widely recognized for his contributions to art and literature, Louis Cha was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1981 and Hong Kong's Grand Bauhinia Medal in 2000.

Text / Sanwei

Matsuoka Mayu and Matsuzaka Tori play pianists in new film

  October 30, 2018  
Up-and-coming Japanese filmmaker Ishikawa Kei, whose last feature film Traces of Sin premiered at the Venice Film Festival, will direct the live-action adaptation of Onda Riku's award-winning music-themed novel Mitsubachi to Renai ("Honey Bees and Distant Thunder"). The film revolves around the growth and challenges of four pianists of different backgrounds – portrayed by Matsuoka Mayu (Shoplifters), Matsuzaka Tori (Call Boy), Morisaki Win (Ready Player One) and newcomer Suzuka Oji – who are participating in an international piano competition.

Matsuoka Mayu plays Eiden Aya, a former child prodigy who gave up the piano when she lost her mother at age 13. Matsuzaka Tori plays Takashima Akashi, a social worker who, despite having a wife, child and career, doesn't want to give up his dream yet. He decides to take one last chance and enter the competition. Morisaki Win plays Masaru C. Levi Anatole, the competition front runner with an elite educational background. Suzuki Oji is Kazama Jin, the mysterious wild card with no performance history who studied under the world's top pianist.

Published in 2016, Mitsubachi to Renai won both the Naoki Prize and the Nationwide Booksellers Award, two of Japan's most prestigious literary prizes. Some of Onda's other works have been adapted for television and film before, including Night Time Picnic and Akumu-chan (My Little Nightmare).

Filming for Mitsubachi to Renai will take place from late October to mid-December. The film is expected to be released in Japan in autumn 2019.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Nam Gil, Go Joon, Kim Sung Kyun and Honey Lee in drama Hot Blooded Priest

  October 29, 2018  
Kim Nam Gil, Kim Sung Kyun, Honey Lee and Go Joon are confirmed to star in the upcoming SBS drama Hot Blooded Priest. The series reunites Kim Nam Gil and Honey Lee five years after Shark.

Kim Nam Gil takes the role of Kim Hae Il, a Catholic priest who always makes wise judgment with his strong analytical skills. He is also known to be a top counter-terrorism agent of the National Intelligence Service. Kim Sung Kyun plays police detective Goo Dae Young, who bluffs all the time to make himself look stronger. He used to be passionate about work before his partner's death three years ago. Honey Lee plays the smart and talented Park Kyung Sun, a witty prosecutor who is strong to the weak and weak to the strong. The three characters work together to investigate a murder case involves an old Catholic priest.

Appearing in his third drama series of the year following Misty and Too Bright Outside for Love, Go Joon portrays the antagonist, gangster-turned-CEO Hwang Cheol Bum. Though he looks nice and gentle on the outside, he is actually cruel and evil on the inside.

Hot Blooded Priest will be produced by Good Manager director Park Jae Bum and Whisper screenwriter Lee Myung Woo. It is slated to air in January 2019.

Text / Violet

Wang Kai in new drama from makers of Nirvana in Fire

  October 18, 2018  
Daylight Entertainment, the maker of the hit Chinese series Nirvana in Fire and Ode to Joy, works again with actors Wang Kai and Yang Shuo for the upcoming series Like a Flowing River. Directed by Kong Sheng (Nirvana in Fire) and Huang Wei, the drama is set during the economic reform period of 1978 to 1992 when China reopened its door to business and trade. Wang, Yang and award-winning young film actor Dong Zijian (Mountains May Depart) play everyday people who walked at the forefront of this restless era of rapid economic development.

Like a Flowing River is based on the novel Da Jiang Dong Qu by Ode to Joy writer Ane. The original novel presents a social cross-section of representative characters from different industries and walks of society – workers, farmers, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, bureaucrats – and how their lives changed during this time period.

Wang Kai, who has appeared in acclaimed Daylight productions like Nirvana in Fire, Ode to Joy and All Quiet in Peking, takes the leading role of Song Yunhui, a talented young man of humble background who seizes the opportunity to go to college in 1978 after the national college entrance exam is reinstated. After completing his studies, Song becomes a technician at a state-owned enterprise and strives to advance technological reform while staying out of power disputes.

Yang Shuo, who experienced a career resurgence thanks to his role in Ode to Joy, plays Lei Dongbao, a rural man of military background who leads his village towards implementing the government's reform initiatives. Dong Zijian makes his television debut in the role of Yang Xun, a self-employed man who experiences many ups and downs in his journey from selling buns to eventually having his own business.

Like a Flowing River premieres on Dragon TV on December 18.

Text / Sanwei

Lee Jong Suk and Lee Na Young team up in romcom series Romance Supplement

  October 15, 2018  
Lee Jong Suk and Lee Na Young have been cast in tvN's new romantic comedy series Romance Supplement. Lee Na Young returns to the small screen nine years after action drama The Fugitive: Plan B, while Lee Jong Suk (While You Were Sleeping) stars in his first ever romcom series. Romance Supplement will be directed by Lee Jung Hyo, the director of The Good Wife and Life on Mars.

Written by Discovery of Love and I Need Romance series screenwriter Jung Hyun Jung, Romance Supplement follows the budding love story between two colleagues in their thirties. Lee Jong Suk plays Cha Eun Ho, the youngest editor-in-chief of a publishing company. Despite being calm and strict at work, he is very warm-hearted and always treats people with enthusiasm. Lee Na Young takes the role of divorced and unemployed woman Kang Dan Yi. Though she once worked for a famous copywriting company, she is now unable to find a job because of her high educational background. She covers up her education credentials and is eventually hired by Cha Eun Ho's company.

Romance Supplement is slated to air in the first half of 2019.

Text / Violet

Kim Sun Ah, Lee Yi Kyung and Nam Gyu Ri in new mystery drama Red Moon, Blue Sea

  October 9, 2018  
Kim Sun Ah, Lee Yi Kyung and Nam Gyu Ri are confirmed to star in the upcoming MBC mystery series Red Moon, Blue Sea. Kim Sun Ah takes her second lead drama of the year following melodrama Shall We Kiss First, while Welcome to Waikiki star Lee Yi Kyung shows his rising popularity with his third main role in 2018. Nam Gyu Ri recently appeared in My Secret Terrius as the ex-girlfriend of So Ji Sub's role.

Kim Sun Ah plays Cha Woo Kyung, a child counselor who is pregnant with her second child and has a perfect family with her gentle husband. However, she is later involved in an accident that changes her whole life. Lee Yi Kyung co-stars as responsible police detective Kang Ji Heon while Nam Gyu Ri plays a mysterious woman named Kwon Soo Young.

Red Moon, Blue Sea will be written by The Village: Achiara's Secret screenwriter Do Hyun Jung and directed by Choi Jung Kyu (Triangle). It is scheduled to air in late November after the end of My Secret Terrius.

Text / Violet

53rd Golden Bell Awards

  October 8, 2018  
The 53rd Golden Bell Awards was held on October 6 in Taiwan. Qseries ratings hit A Boy Named Flora A directed by Chu Yu Ning won Best Television Series, and its star, singer-songwriter Crowd Lu, secured both Best Actor and Best Newcomer for his acting debut.

Huang Pei Jia, who played four characters in the Hakka TV drama Roseki, was awarded Best Actress. The series' leading actor Morning Mo and director Lou Yi An won for Best Writing. Peter Ho, who wrote, directed and starred in Age of Rebellion, won Best Directing in a Television Serial along with co-director Ray Jiang. Best Supporting Actor and Actress went to A Boy Named Flora A's Liu Kuan Ting and Roseki's Yang Shiau Li, respectively.

In the Mini-Series/Television Film categories, PTS Life Story series entry Where the Sun Don't Shine took the top Television Film prize as well as Best Actor for Lan Wei Hua and Best Newcomer for Iain Lu. Lu Yi Ching was crowned Best Actress for A Shui and Guo Xiang while His Hsiang (Ruan Shi Bi Hua and Her Two Men) and Liao Yi Ling (Far and Away: The Third Power) garnered Best Supporting Actor and Actress. Cheng Yu Chieh's Days We Stared at the Sun II won Best Mini-Series and Best Directing, and Tea Land won Best Screenwriting.

In the Variety section, Yesterday Once More came out on top as the Best Variety Program. Variety Get Together's A Hsiang, Hu Gua and Hsieh Hsin were named the Best Variety Program Hosts while Mr. Player's Jacky Wu and Kid are the Best Reality or Game Show Hosts.

Veteran actor Kao Cheng Pao was honored with the Special Contribution Award Known as the "Godmother of Qiong Yao dramas," late director Liu Li Li was posthumously recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text / Garden
Translation / Sanwei

Zhang Yimou's Shadow leads 2018 Golden Horse nominations

  October 3, 2018  
Nominations for the 55th Golden Horse Awards were revealed on October 1. Zhang Yimou's historical epic Shadow leads with 12 nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Actor and Actress for Deng Chao and Sun Li.

Taiwan drama Dear Ex, the feature debut of TV screenwriter Mag Hsu and music video director Hsu Chih Yen, follows with eight nominations including Best Film, Best New Director, Best Actor for Roy Chiu, Best Actress for Hsieh Ying Xuan and Best New Performer for Joseph Huang. Wen Muye's blockbuster China comedy-drama Dying to Survive netted seven nods including Best Film, Best New Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Xu Zheng. The remaining Best Film contenders are An Elephant Sitting Still, the first and last film of Hu Bo who received a posthumous Best New Director nomination, and neo-noir drama Long Day's Journey into Night, which also garnered a Best Director nod for Bi Gan. Jiang Wen (Hidden Man), Lou Ye (Shadow Play) and Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden (Jinpa) complete the Best Director shortlist.

Duan Yihong from Best New Director and Original Screenplay nominee Dong Yue's The Looming Storm and An Elephant Sitting Still's young lead Peng Yuchang join Roy Chiu, Deng Chao and Xu Zheng in the Best Actor race. Meanwhile, Hsieh Ying Xuan and Sun Li compete in the Best Actress category with Zhao Tao (Ash is Purest White), Zheng Meihuizi (Three Husbands) and Zhou Xun from Iwai Shunji's Last Letter. The Japanese auteur also earned a Best Original Screenplay nod for his first Chinese film.

Singer-actress Rene Liu's directorial debut Us and Them garnered five nominations including Best New Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for veteran director and sometime actor Tian Zhuangzhuang, who will compete against Lee Hong Chi (Cities of Last Things), Cheng Jen Shuo (Gatao 2: Rise of the King), Zhang Yu (Dying to Survive) and Ben Yuen (Tracey). Best Supporting Actress nominations go to last year's Best Actress winner Kara Hui (Tracey), teen actress Zhang Zifeng (Last Letter), Xu Qing (Hidden Man), Phoebe Huang (Dad's Suit) and Ding Ning (Cities of Last Things). Ho Wi Ding's Cities also garnered nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best New Performer (Hsieh Chang Ying).

The 55th Golden Horse Awards will be held in Taipei on November 17, 2018.

Text / Sanwei

Yoo Seung Ho & Jo Bo Ah in new romcom Revenge is Back

  September 28, 2018  
Yoo Seung Ho and Jo Bo Ah have been cast as the leads of the upcoming SBS romantic comedy Revenge is Back. Following his appearance in I Am Not a Robot, Yoo Seung Ho takes his second romcom drama of the year. Meanwhile, Revenge is Back marks the first romantic comedy in two years for Jo Bo Ah, who recently wrapped up the melodrama Goodbye to Goodbye. The drama is directed by Ham Joon Ho (Wok of Love) and written by rookie screenwriter Kim Yoon Young.

The high school romcom series follows Yoo Seung Ho as student Kang Bok Soo, who gets kicked out of school after being wrongly accused in a school violence case. The false accusation was made by his ex-girlfriend Son Soo Jung, played by Jo Bo Ah, and another classmate. He later returns to the school as an adult and plans to take revenge on his first love. However, Bok Soo unexpectedly ends up in different hilarious situations due to changes in the school environment.

Revenge is Back is slated to air in late November after the end of Where Stars Land.

Text / Violet

Yamashita Nobuhiro's Hard-Core to premiere at Tokyo Film Festival

  September 26, 2018  
Two years after My Uncle and Over the Fence, director Yamashita Nobuhiro adapts the manga Hard Core: Heisei Jigoku Brothers by Imashiro Takashi for his latest film Hard-Core. As common for Yamashita's works, Hard-Core's protagonists are misfit men played by Yamada Takayuki (Ushijima the Loan Shark), Satoh Takeru (Rurouni Kenshin) and Arakawa Yoshiyoshi (Fine, Totally Fine). The film reunites Yamada with frequent collaborator Mukai Kosuke who wrote Linda Linda Linda, My Back Page and Tamako in the Moratorium.

Yamada Takayuki stars as Gondo Ukon, a man who truly doesn't fit well into society and prefers to dig for buried gold in the mountains of Gunma. Satoh Takeru plays his younger brother Sakon who works for an elite trading company, and Arakawa Yoshiyoshi is Ukon's gentle friend and fellow gold digger Ushiyama. Instead of gold, they discover an old robot that draws the three men into unexpected circumstances. Matsu Takako also appears in the film as a mysterious woman whom Ukon encounters at a bar.

Hard-Core will have its world premiere in October at the 31st Tokyo International Film Festival where Yamashita is serving as a jury member for the Asian Future section. The film opens in Japan on November 23.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Hee Sun and Kim Young Kwang's Room No. 9 premieres in early October

  September 21, 2018  
tvN's new fantasy mystery series Room No. 9 starring Kim Hee Sun, Kim Hae Sook and Kim Young Kwang will premiere on October 6. Originally slated to air in late September after the end of Mr. Sunshine, the drama is postponed to one week later due to Korea's Chuseok holidays.

Kim Hee Sun made a successful small-screen comeback with Woman of Dignity last year, while Kim Young Kwang's latest romcom movie On Your Wedding Day is a recent box office hit. Kim Hae Sook participated in tvN's fantasy romance series About Time earlier this year, and takes her first drama lead of the year with Room No.9.

Produced by My Fair Lady director Ji Yeong Su and The Merchant: Gaekju 2015 screenwriter Jung Sung Hee, Room No.9 depicts two women on radically different paths who exchange fates and how they strive to twist their destinies again. Veteran actress Kim Hae Sook takes the leading role of notorious death row inmate Jang Hwa Sa, who was caught for a serial poisoning murder case. While wanting to give up on life, she is miraculously given the chance to live in the body of Eulji Hae Yi (Kim Hee Sun), a successful lawyer who bows down to the powerful and stops at nothing to win in court.

Fresh off the box office success of his romcom On Your Wedding Day, Kim Young Kwang co-stars as family therapist Gi Yoo Jin, the boyfriend of Eulji Hae Yi. He seems intelligent and gentle on the outside, but is in fact devious and brutal on the inside. The cast of Room No. 9 also includes Lee Kyung Young (Misaeng), One (A Korean Odyssey), Oh Dae Hwan (Shopaholic Louis) and Kim Jae Hwa (Good Manager).

Text / Violet

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