Stag­ing a ghost story

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By CHEN­NAN chen­nan@chi­

There’s a Chi­nese say­ing that goes: Grave robbers should place a can­dle in the tomb’s south­west cor­ner.

If the flame flick­ers out, it’s be­cause the de­ceased is angry about the in­tru­sion and the thieves must re­turn ev­ery­thing to where they found them.

This idea rules the nar­ra­tives of the popular novel se­ries, Gui Chui Deng ( Ghost Blows Out the Lights), by Zhang Muye, who’s bet­ter known by his pen name Tianxia Bachang.

The se­ries has be­come one of the coun­try’s best-sell­ing on­line nov­els, win­ning mil­lions of read­ers since the first oftheeight­book­swas­re­leased in 2006.

The 36-year-old au­thor has adapted the se­ries into a theater drama to bestaged in Bei­jin­gonFri­dayandSatur­day.

The script re­mains true to the nov­els, which re­volve around a pair of grave robbers who team up with an Amer­i­can ar­chae­ol­o­gist to scour China for an­cient­mytho­log­i­cal se­crets to lift a curse.

“I didn’t in­tend to write the script un­til di­rec­tor Liu Tianchi handed me a script I didn’t be­lieve would meet au­di­ence ex­pec­ta­tions,” Zhang said at a re­cent event herald­ing the drama’s na­tional tour, that starts in early 2015. “So I de­cided to do it­my­self.” Zhang will play a mi­nor role that won’t be re­vealed un­til the premiere.

He’ll also join the scriptwrit­ing team for the film ver­sion of the se­ries slated for re­lease in De­cem­ber 2015. The film will be di­rected by Wu’er­shan, who’s cel­e­brated for his fan­tasy block­buster Painted Skin II.

After the Beijing show, the drama will­headto Shang­hai for three nights fromNov 15.

X2 drama stu­dio founder Guan Haoyue­says his Beijing-based pri­vate pro­duc­tion company bought rights to all eight nov­els and will pro­duce a drama se­ries based on the books.

Zhang be­lieves au­di­ences will find the drama is more in­ter­ac­tive than the movie.

“Ev­ery­thing ac­tu­ally hap­pens in front of your eyes,” he says.

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