GHY Culture & Media’s annual drama “The Little Nyonya” is expected to air in early 2020
Period Drama “The Little Nyonya” is directed and produced by “Legendary Drama King”, Guo Jingyu, directed by well-known Singaporean directors Xie Minyang and Huang Guangrong, scripted by Singapore “National Screenwriter” Hong Rongdi, played by Xiao Yan, Kou Jiarui, Yue Lina, Qiu Kaiwei, Dai Xiangyu, Xiang Yun, Sun Zijun, He Yuhong, Fang Chengcheng, Niu Beiren, Niu Baojun, etc. It is co-presented by Beijing iQiyi Technology Co., Ltd., Tianjin Changxin, GHY Culture & Media (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Yizuoyou Television Jiangsu Co., Ltd. Film and Television Media Co., Ltd., Sanniu Television Jiangsu Co., Ltd.
Through the grievances and resentments of several generations of a large family, the play integrates the essence of Nyonya culture, and tells the story of the indomitable struggle history of kind-hearted girl Yueniang.
TV series “Little Nyonya” held a lensing ceremony in Malaysia on October 11, 2018, announcing the remake of this Singapore’s “iconic drama”. On February 17, 2019, the shoot was completed. Filming took 131 days and spanned more than 4,600 kilometers over China and Malaysia.
The 2008 romance drama “Little Nyonya” has fully demonstrated the cultural phenomenon of “Nyonya Culture” with a very Southeast Asian characteristic, It not only created a miracle rating in the history of Singapore TV dramas, but also set off “Nonya fever” in the entire Asian region “. This remake 10 years later put together top production team from China, joined by Singapore’s top screenwriters, with an upsize of production quality, all to continue the legendary phenomena of “Little Nonya”.
“Little Nyonya” tells the story of three generations of “Nyonya” Peranakans. First generation Tianlan was sold to a rich man’s house as a servant at a young age. At sixteen, she is accepted by her rich young master as the second mistress but her inferior status causes her to suffer. She gave birth to her daughter Juxiang, a gentle and beautiful. She has great cooking and needlework skills learnt from her mother since she was a child. However, she became deaf and dumb after a serious illness in infancy. Juxiang was arranged to marry a wealthy man as his 2nd wife. She resisted the marriage and met a Chinese-Japanese mixed race photographer, Yamamoto Yosuke. Juxiang resolutely accepted Yosuke’s love and they got married. After their marriage, Yosuke is forced to return to Japan to serve in the army, leaving Juxiang to raise their daughter Yueniang single handedly. In turbulent times, Juxiang and her husband are tortured to death, leaving behind her eight-year-old daughter Yueniang.
Yueniang took her mother’s relics and went back to her grandfather’s house, where things began to fall. Under the supervision of her grandmother Tianlan, she studied traditional Nyonya’s cooking and needlework. Yueniang grows up to be exceptionally beautiful like her mother. Wealthy leaders and handsome lawyers are all attracted to her. However, her romance relationship was not smooth. She is destined to meet her true love Chengxi but unfortunately, not fated to be together. Entangled with the family’s disputes and fights, Yueniang is always discriminated against, beaten, framed, tortured and expelled. But her strong character leads her to fight against the odds. She embarks on a journey to carve out her own destiny and succeeds despite several setbacks and eventually saves her declining family business. However, her romance continues to stay blank, as she is unable to let go of her true love …
Singapore National film sets off the “Nyonya fever”
The term “Nonya” refers to the offspring of the Chinese and Malaysian marriages. Descendants of early Malaysians and Chinese, males were called Babas and females were called Nyonya. “Nyonya” is not only an ethnic group, but also represents the history of the integration of the Chinese nation and Southeast Asian culture.
The immense pressure of the creative team to remake such a classic after 10 years is expected. Fortunately, this remake team is not a trivial team – it was written and directed by Guo Jingyu, director for many popular China dramas such as “Iron Pear”, “Dog Stick”, “Brave Heart”, and “Mother’s Life”. The original writer of “The Little Nonya”, screenwriter Hong Rongdi took charge of this new script, adding more fresh elements to the classic story. At the lensing ceremoeny, Hong Rongdi said: “I have been dreaming and wanting to rewrite ” Little Nyonya”, to make the story more perfect. It is a dream comes true today after ten years.” Both directors are well-known Singaporean directors, of which Xie Minyang is the director of the original version. She will continue to direct the new version and grasp a better essence of the drama. Another director, Huang Guangrong, is also Singaporean and has many international co-production experiences. He has produced excellent TV series such as “Little Legend” and “Our Home” in Singapore. The join forces of these two Singaporean directors is expected to make “The Little Nyonya” closer to the “soul” of Nyonya culture.
The production team led by Guo Jingyu is also not to be underestimated: stylist Chen Minzheng was the chief styling design for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games. His works include “The Revolution of 1911” and “Biography of Zhen Huan”. It was nominated for the “Best Costumes Design” award at the 55th Golden Horse Awards. Photography director Qi Weihua and art director Cheng Guangming are also Guo Jingyu’s old partners, and they have collaborated on a number of works such as “Dog Stick” and “Brave Heart”.
In order to beautifully portray the style of Nyonya, the crew went to Singapore and Malaysia several times to see the scenery and inspect the characteristics of Nyonya architecture and clothing. The art department built actual scenes of the Nyonya family’s life in the studio. Every carving and decoration are to follow closely the characteristics of Nyonya life. Production tea also specially invited Nyonya chefs and Nyonya etiquette guides for the actors and actresses to learn the making Nyonya dishes and Nyonya etiquette. At the lensing ceremony, production crew also prepared a variety of “Nyonya cakes” for the invited guests and media, enabling them to have firsthand experience of Nyonya culture.
New and old opera member, Xiao Yan, explained the history of Nyonya on stage
The role of “Yueniang” in “The Little Nyonya” this time is a new generation actress Xiao Yan who has appeared in many costumes dramas. At press conference, Xiao Yan said: “I am honored to play the roles of Juxiang and Yueniang, and I will do my best to interpret the positive life history of Yueniang.
Actor Chen Xi, is also a young actor from Taiwan.
The famous actor Yue Lina, who has shaped many classic characters in ” Dog Sticks”, “Soul Ferry · Huang Quan” and “Mother’s Life”, plays the important role “Guihua” in this drama.
Famous Taiwanese actor Qiu Kaiwei, mainland actor He Yuhong, Niu Beiren, China first class actor Niu Baojun, Zhang Liming, etc. were also casted in this new version of “Little Nyonya”, to achieve a good combination of young + old actors.
What’s more worth mentioning is that two actors from the original “The Little Nyonya” have also joined this new version “Little Nyonya”. Dai Xiangyu, who played Yosuke Yamamoto in the original version, plays the role again. Another former “Nyonya”-well-known Singaporean actress Xiang Yun will play Granny Chen in this new edition. Xiang Yun said emotionally: “I always hope to cooperate with the Chinese team. This time, I finally have the opportunity to make a drama together, especially in a big production like” Little Nyonya “, I felt that my dream has come true!”
It is reported that the drama is under negotiation in Hunan TV’s “New Year’s Drama” broadcast cooperation. It has become the most anticipated TV drama of the coming year, so stay tuned!