Little Nyonya remake tops Weibo charts

Actor Dai Xiangyu and actress Xiao Yan (both above) in the new Chinese remake of The Little Nyonya.
Actor Dai Xiangyu and actress Xiao Yan (both above) in the new Chinese remake of The Little Nyonya.PHOTO: THE LITTLE NYONYA/WEIBO

The 2020 Chinese remake of classic local drama The Little Nyonya (2008) may have premiered on China Central Television on Sunday quietly with little fanfare, but it immediately topped Chinese microblogging site Weibo's real-time search rankings.

The drama stars Chinese actress Xiao Yan and Taiwanese actor Kou Chia-jui, who step into the roles first played by Jeanette Aw and Qi Yuwu.

Similar to Aw, Xiao Yan plays both the roles of female lead Yueniang and Yueniang's mother Juxiang, who died early.

The series, which is available in Singapore via the iQiyi streaming platform (www.iq.com), also has faces familiar to local audiences.

Dai Xiangyu, previously known as Dai Yangtian, reprises his role as Yamamoto Yousuke, a charming Japanese photographer and father to Yueniang.

Netizens flocked to Weibo to marvel that Dai, despite playing the same character 12 years apart, has not visibly aged.

Xiang Yun, who was in the original series as Juxiang's mother, takes on the role of the Chen family matriarch in this new rendition.

Actors Terence Cao and Jeffrey Xu also appear in this series - which was partly filmed in Malaysia for an authentic Peranakan setting.

The series is penned by its original creator - local scriptwriter Ang Eng Tee, who is also behind hit local series like 1940s post-war drama Tofu Street (1996) and family drama Holland V (2003) - and executive-produced by Chinese director Guo Jingyu.

Guo told Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News: "There was no promotion done before it premiered, but it topped the search rankings in front of current news affairs - that's very rare.

"The fact that it's getting noticed shows that it's a good story that can get people talking."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2020, with the headline 'Little Nyonya remake tops Weibo charts'. Print Edition | Subscribe