Guest Writer: XZ
Here’s a special intercultural mix out for those of you looking for something to watch: Skip-Beat! is a Taiwanese drama adapted from a Japanese manga/anime starring Korean boyband Super Junior’s Choi Siwon and Lee Donghae.
Showed as “Extravagant Challenge”, it’s a story about a girl who gets dumped by her childhood sweetheart even though she’d spent pretty much her entire life taking care of his every whim. She wants revenge, but unfortunately, he happens to be a superstar singer. So she attempts to debut as a celebrity to beat him down, and the drama unfolds.
Siwon plays workaholic actor Dun He Lian, who values his career so much that he disregards his personal life, including his health and his love life. He (the character, not Siwon) is not so pleased that someone’s gone into his industry just for revenge, but – spoiler alert! – he’s slowly won over by our innocent protagonist, Gong Xi (played by Ivy).
Donghae in the drama is up as Bu Po Shang, the superstar singer who dropped our protagonist like a hot potato. Donghae mentioned at the press conference that it wasn’t easy to play as the character at first, but since his character’s playful like him, he managed to grow into the role.
Filming a Taiwanese drama must be tough on the Korean boys, but they’ve done their very best. They’ve even brushed up on their Mandarin: they can now greet people fluently and catch and answer some questions done completely in Chinese. The drama’s dubbed though; we can’t expect Siwon and Donghae to pick up Chinese on the fly. Siwon at least was amused and entertained by his character’s voice actor, describing it as cute when he first heard it at its first preview screening.
Of course, we’ve got to give credit to Ivy Chen as well. She may have been lucky to have had so much time with the boys, but it certainly wasn’t easy!
“In the beginning I did receive warnings about how I should not stay too near to them,” she shared. “I was really nervous the first day. But after a little while I realised it wasn’t so scary, and their fans are quite nice. Now the drama’s out… Well, I haven’t gotten any threats on my life yet, so it should be okay. Their fans are actually very nice to me.”
Siwon added that their fans are now telling them to be nicer to Ivy, especially Donghae, who tease her occasionally because, as he puts it: “I’m playful!”
She’s not the only one who was nervous. Siwon and Donghae were a little shy when they heard they were working with Ivy. Both testified that she took care of them: Donghae even joked that they could be a family, with him as the child and Siwon and Ivy as the parents.
The help she gave Siwon was a little more ‘subtle’. “Whenever I forgot my lines, I look at Ivy and I feel her trying to transmit some message to me with her eyes. Then I can sort of remember them.”
It’s clear that the trio’s had plenty of fun working together (even more so if you watch the little behind-the-scenes that come after the credits, featuring the song This is Love 這是愛 that’s sung by Donghae himself. Not forgetting to mention, the opening song S.O.L.O (華麗的獨秀) is by Super Junior-M, the Mandopop sub-unit of Super Junior). Imagine the mischief they can have if they ever work on set together again!
For those of you who’ve watched the anime or read the manga, here’s a quick character guide:
- Kyoko Mogami → Gong Xi (Ivy Chen)
- Ren Tsuruga → Dun He Lian (Choi Siwon)
- Sho Fuwa → Bu Po Shang (Lee Donghae)
- Kaname “Mouko” Kotonami → Jiang Nan Qin (Bianca Bai)
- Yukihito Yashiro → Du Jin (Jin Qin)
And here are some photos of their promotional event at Plaza Singapura a while back: