Pretty faces aplenty in Monkey King 3

Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women's co-stars Aaron Kwok and Chiling Lin (above) on the red carpet of the Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday. Other celebrities at the event included Chinese actress Jiang Yiyan and Hong Kong actor Sean Lau Ching Wa
Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women's co-stars Aaron Kwok and Chiling Lin (above) on the red carpet of the Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday. Other celebrities at the event included Chinese actress Jiang Yiyan and Hong Kong actor Sean Lau Ching Wan.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women's co-stars Aaron Kwok (above) and Chiling Lin on the red carpet of the Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday. Other celebrities at the event included Chinese actress Jiang Yiyan and Hong Kong actor Sean Lau Ching Wa
Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women's co-stars Aaron Kwok (above) and Chiling Lin on the red carpet of the Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday. Other celebrities at the event included Chinese actress Jiang Yiyan and Hong Kong actor Sean Lau Ching Wan.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women's co-stars Aaron Kwok and Chiling Lin on the red carpet of the Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday. Other celebrities at the event included Chinese actress Jiang Yiyan and Hong Kong actor Sean Lau Ching Wan (both
Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women's co-stars Aaron Kwok and Chiling Lin on the red carpet of the Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday. Other celebrities at the event included Chinese actress Jiang Yiyan and Hong Kong actor Sean Lau Ching Wan (both above).PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Chinese blockbuster Monkey King 2 bagged two prizes - Best Visual Effects as well as Best Costume and Make-up Design - at the Hong Kong Film Awards on April 9.

The third instalment in the franchise, which will be released next year, could sweep such honours again, given that the budget is reportedly 500 million yuan (S$101.7 million).

But fans of the series - based on the 16th-century Chinese literary classic Journey To The West - can also expect to be riveted by non- computer-generated images.

The third edition will boast hundreds of pretty faces, according to Chinese media reports.

Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women, which is adapted from a chapter in Journey To The West, showcases a kingdom that is populated only by women. The ruler falls in love with the monk Tang Sanzang, who is on a quest from China to India with his three companions to collect Buddhist sutras.

The movie's director Soi Cheang said shooting is about to be wrapped up, with post-production work to begin soon.

The big budget has paid for a 1,000-strong contingent of cast and crew to shoot scenes in four provinces across China, with money also lavished on massive outdoor and indoor sets.

Hong Kong superstar Aaron Kwok again plays the Monkey King, despite revealing what he had to endure in portraying the character in the second instalment.

He had told the media then that after the make-up crew had spent hours getting him into character, he could not use his hands and had to curb his water intake to avoid using the toilet. His skin also suffered from the hundreds of pin-like hairs that had been glued on to make him look like the Monkey King.

Over the weekend, the 51-year- old was at the Beijing International Film Festival to help promote the new movie with co-star Chiling Lin.

The 42-year-old Taiwanese actress-model predicted that audiences would have a hard time recognising her in Monkey King 3 because of the heavy make-up.

The previous two movies earned more than one billion yuan each at the Chinese box office in 2014 and last year, despite drawing less than enthusiastic reviews.

Monkey King 3 is slated for release during the prime Chinese New Year box-office period next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'Pretty faces aplenty in Monkey King 3'. Print Edition | Subscribe