Fresh faces in reboot of Meteor Garden

The latest Meteor Garden stars (from left) Connor Leong (Meizuo), Dylan Wang (Daoming Si), Shen Yue (Shancai), Darren Chen (Huazelei) and Caesar Wu (Ximen).
The latest Meteor Garden stars (from left) Connor Leong (Meizuo), Dylan Wang (Daoming Si), Shen Yue (Shancai), Darren Chen (Huazelei) and Caesar Wu (Ximen).PHOTO: METEOR GARDEN/WEIBO

A bunch of fresh faces have been announced as the leads in the highly anticipated Meteor Garden TV drama reboot, 16 years after the original series premiered on Taiwanese television.

In the lead as strong-willed student Shancai is Chinese newbie actress Shen Yue, 20, while the actors taking on the roles as her school's four richest and most popular boys - known collectively as F4 - will be Taipei native Darren Chen (playing Huazelei) as well as Chinese actors Dylan Wang (Daoming Si), Connor Leong (Meizuo) and Caesar Wu (Ximen). The hunks are all 21 years old and stand tall at an average height of 1.85m.

The new cast was officially revealed on stage at a press conference in Shanghai on Thursday.

Wang said at the event that he was three years old when the original drama aired and that his mother was so hooked on the show that she did not have time to cook dinner for the family. Chen added that he was only in kindergarten at the time.

The 48-episode reboot, which is being produced by the creator of the original show, Angie Chai, is set to hit TV screens next year.

The story is drawn from Japanese comic series Boys Over Flowers.

Previous reports said that the new Meteor Garden would be made for NT$720 million (S$33 million), or NT$15 million an episode. That is 30 times the budget for the 2001 drama, which was made for NT$500,000 an episode.

The original series, which was a mega hit across Asia, had shot actress Barbie Hsu as well as singer-actors Jerry Yan, Vic Chou, Ken Chu and Van Ness Wu to superstardom in the region. The show was such a phenomenon that the four guys recorded albums and went on concert tours as F4 the boyband.

So far, it looks like Hsu, 41, has given her blessing to the new cast.

In an Instagram post on her account @barbie.hsu, she posted pictures of herself as well as Shen and captioned in a mix of English and Chinese: "Goodbye old! Hello new! All the best!"

She also shared a picture of the four new hunks and wrote in Chinese: "All the love! Please support them. #NewF4."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2017, with the headline 'Fresh faces in reboot of Meteor Garden'. Subscribe