Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Skip Beat!/Extravagant Challenge To Commence Filming in January; Ariel Lin Determinedly Follows Jerry Yan

News Source: CTW (magazine), tammiest @
Translation Credit: tammiest @

It was just last November that Jerry Yan ChengXu and Ariel Lin YiChen traveled to Japan to attend the opening press conference for idol drama 華麗的挑戰/Extravagant Challenge; filming stalled soon afterward because of some complications with the Japanese sponsors. In September, rumors began surfacing that the drama would commence filming again; however, Jerry had already committed to other work, and Wu Zun was rumored to have taken his place. A few days ago, though, rumors came up again—this time, indicating that filming was scheduled to commence at the end of January. Wu Zun has already accepted a Mainland drama; furthermore, the Japanese market loves Jerry, and, in the end, we’re back at a Jerry-Ariel match.

Jerry and Wu Zun—just who will play Extravagant Challenge’s leading man, Ren Tsuruga? After a year of back-and-forth, “You leave, and I’ll pick up,” (supposedly) affirmative news has finally come out: the drama is scheduled to commence filming in January, and the rumors that Jerry was replaced by Wu Zun—which started circulating in September—have been put to rest: the role of Ren has come back, full-circle, to Jerry.

Extravagant Challenge is to be adapted from popular Japanese manga Skip Beat! In early 2008, GTV—a station which specializes in manga adaptations—announced that it would be collaborating with the Japanese on the project at a joint opening press conference. Almost immediately, however, the production was besieged by difficulties: the director of the drama switched from Winnie Qu YouNing to Niu ChengZe; the male lead changed from Jerry Yan to Wu Zun—in fact, the only thing that has never been changed is the female lead: Ariel Lin.

Ariel Lin's Schedule Currently Free

The director and the male lead have changed and changed again; the drama's been delayed for a year, but, in the end, nothing's changed. The most recent news is that Extravagant Challenge will commence filming in January; the female lead is still Ariel Lin, and the male lead is still Japanese fan favorite Jerry Yan.

The pair went to Japan early last year for the opening press conference; there were quite a number of hints as to their re-teaming this year. In December, Ariel will be focusing all her attention on a stage play in Hong Kong, 男人與女人之戰爭與和平/Men and Women Are Just Like War and Peace. All she has scheduled in January are five commercials and/or advertisements in the Mainland and Taiwan. Her schedule looks conveniently free for filming Extravagant Challenge!

Ariel's manager, 周美豫 Chou MeiYu, had this to say: "Skip Beat! is a wonderful manga; I'm sure it would also be wonderful if it were adapted into a drama. We were originally very much looking forward to this drama; however, we've yet to receive notice of a filming commencement, so we can't confirm anything [with you]."

She revealed that Ariel is scheduled to appear in a stage play in Singapore in February; she is also in talks with Mainland producers for another drama. There have even been, most recently, several movie scripts and production companies, all seeking Ariel. If, then, Extravagant Challenge is really to commence filming in January, these other opportunities will naturally also be on Ariel's mind and in her consideration.

The Japanese Only Want Jerry Yan

There were originally rumors that the male lead had been switched to Wu Zun. He's scheduled, however, to begin filming a Mainland drama in March, and he is also planning to break into both the Mainland and the Korean market. The chances of his taking on Extravagant Challenge as well are, thus, quite low.

In actuality, however, Extravagant Challenge has always had Jerry's name attached to it. He and Ariel created quite a buzz when they appeared at the opening press conference in Tokyo last year. Although there were some financial/capital problems on the Japanese side which temporarily halted filming, the Japanese sponsors have always had their hearts set on Jerry.

Most importantly, Jerry's name was a huge selling point for the Japanese; the company was able to raise money based largely on his involvement in the project. Thus, if GTV is really to commence filming, the male lead couldn't be anyone but Jerry! Jerry's manager, Fanny, didn't deny either the revival of filming or Jerry's participation: "Jerry is currently in talks for a lot of various different projects. Everything is still under wraps; we can't reveal anything."

GTV's Vice Director of Planning, 蔡妃喬 Tsai FeiQiao, said, "There are still some copyright issues we're ironing out for Extravagant Challenge, and so a filming commencement is not actually on the schedule yet. Once everything's finalized and we're sure we're going to begin filming again, we'll definitely let everyone know."

Caption #1: Last November, Jerry Yan ChengXu and Ariel Lin YiChen attended Extravagant Challenge’s opening press conference in Tokyo, Japan. On the left is Director Niu ChengZe.

Caption #2: In December, Ariel Lin YiChen will be acting in a stage play in Hong Kong; in January, she is scheduled to film commercials in both the Mainland and Taiwan. She shouldn’t have any scheduling conflicts when Extravagant Challenge begins filming again.

Caption #3: When Jerry Yan ChengXu and Ariel Lin YiChen were in Japan last November for their round of press conferences, their chemistry was already pretty evident.

Caption #4: Extravagant Challenge will be adapted from popular Japanese manga Skip Beat!

Caption #5: Wu Zun will be breaking into the Mainland drama market next year; it's doubtful that he'll take on Extravagant Challenge.

Caption #6: Jerry Yan ChengXu was the original choice for male lead; he is also the Japanese choice for Ren Tsuruga.

Early 2008 - GTV and the Japanese Complete Talks To Collaborate On a Drama Adaptation of Popular Japanese Manga Skip Beat!
End of April 2008 - Confirmed: Male Lead Jerry Yan ChengXu, Female Lead Ariel Lin YiChen, Second Male Lead Joe Cheng YuanChang, Director Winnie Qu YouNing
July 2008 - Joe Cheng YuanChang Pulls Out, Doesn't Want To Be Second Male Lead; Original July Filming Date Is Pushed Back; Director Switches From Winnie Qu YouNing To Niu ChengZe
November 2008 - Jerry Yan ChengXu and Ariel Lin YiChen Travel To Tokyo, Japan, for the Opening Press Conference; Media Are Invited
November 2008 - January 2009 - Rumored: Japanese Contact Who'd Bought the Rights to Skip Beat!/Extravagant Challenge Had, After Taking the Money From the Taiwanese Side, Vanished
End of January 2009 - GTV Pulls the Plug On Filming
September 2009 - Rumored: Extravagant Challenge To Commence Filming Soon; Male Lead Switched From Jerry Yan ChengXu To Wu Zun
November 2009 - Rumored: Extravagant Challenge To Commence Filming At the End of January; Male Lead Back To Jerry Yan ChengXu


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