Before Tao Mu officially joined the crew, he had already set off a hot search in the Hong Kong entertainment circle. As many Hong Kong netizens found FlyNews.com, soon, the news of Tao Mu’s participation in the film “Black and White” also spread in the mainland.
The Hong Kong film and television industry had always been known as the Hollywood of the East. Especially in the second half of the 20th century, there have been many popular classics. The cultural output included the entire East Asia and Southeast Asia. However, at the beginning of the new century, Hong Kong film and television dramas gradually fell behind. Although many A-list superstars were still sought after by audiences and fans. But whether it was a movie or a TV series, it often fell short in terms of box office and ratings.
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Of course, the development of Hong Kong film and television dramas had reached a certain stage, and it had entered an embarrassing bottleneck period where there was nothing to film. The more important reason was that the cultural censorship systems in Hong Kong and the mainland were different. Some classic themes that were immensely popular in Hong Kong often failed to pass the review when they arrived in the mainland.
Just like the film “Black and White”, because it was a police and gangster film, the subject matter was very sensitive. In addition, at the end of the plot, the mob boss, played by Hong Kong superstar Zhou Yanqing, managed to escape to Southeast Asia with huge assets after successfully plotting against the undercover cop played by Yan Sheng and several other higher-ups in the mafia. This was of course to lay the groundwork for turning “Black and White” into a series, but in the eyes of the bigwigs in China Film Administration (CFA), this kind of plot where the villain boss escaped justice was particularly inconsistent with the core socialist values. Not to mention the undercover cop Zhou Yuanting played by Tao Mu, actually went bad in the second half of the film. In order to betray the undercover cop played by Yan Sheng for profit, he joined forces with the mob boss played by Zhou Yanqing to set up the scheme, which almost caused the death of the hero played by Yan Sheng.
This part of the plot was even more impossible to broadcast in the mainland.
Therefore, after the film was released in Hong Kong, it was not passed when it was reviewed by the mainland. The opinion given by the CFA was that the villain must be punished for evil. So the director added a scene of the villain being caught and imprisoned for Zhou Yuanting, played by Tao Mu at the last minute. In the original plot setting, Zhou Yuanting, played by Tao Mu, should have escaped far away with the mob boss.
As a result, in order to promote the core socialist values, Zhou Yuanting was caught by the police when he was about to escape and was sentenced to ten years.
In fact, when the CFA gave its revision advice, the filmmakers did not want to revise it, wanting to keep the integrity and coherence of the plot. However, considering the vast film market in the mainland, they eventually compromised.
Of course, the main reason was that the Zhou Yuanting played by Tao Mu didn’t quite meet the director’s casting standards. The actor of Zhou Yuanting, who Director Xu Musen wanted to choose in the previous life, was originally a very popular young actor in Hong Kong. However, relying on the power of the Shen family, Tao Mu insisted on playing the role of Zhou Yuanting. And because the young actor that Director Xu Musen valued was caught in the whirlpool of public opinion because of the scandal of opening a room with his bankroller. So Xu Musen had no choice but to compromise in the end.
In this life, Director Xu Musen naturally first wanted to cast that popular young actor from Hong Kong. After his scandal came to light, only then did Tao Mu come to mind. But the main reason was Tao Mu’s identity as the founder of FlyNews.com. As for Xu Musen’s polite words when he sent a role invitation to Beijing Film, that he fell in love with Tao Mu’s dancing in H Town and thought that this role belonged to none other than Tao Mu. Although it was true, everyone knew that if Tao Mu was just a martial arts stand-in with no background and no support, then even if Tao Mu was the Zhou Yuanting in the movie come to life, Xu Musen would never use a pure rookie to play such an important role.
However, what people in the industry knew well, when it came to the people who ate melons, especially the fans, it was not the case.
As everyone knows, the film “Black and White” was a film that Director Xu Musen had polished for three years. The A-list celebrities from both sides of the strait and Taiwan were invited to star in the film. Even a small supporting role that had only a few minutes of screen time might become a hit with the big influence brought by the many superstars in the cast.
In this case, a role like Zhou Yuanting, which was visibly a character that would allow an actor a lot of room to play with, and if the role was acted well it would definitely stand out, so of course, the role became the target of all young actors.
So, including the popular young actor whose scandal with his bankroller was exposed, everyone was trying their best to pursue audition opportunities. But Director Xu Musen kept silent the whole time, he didn’t even go through the audition process, and directly handed the role to Tao Mu.
A student who had just been admitted to Beijing Film Academy and was still a freshman. What talent and ability did Tao Mu have that could actually PK out so many B-list and C-list popular male stars and gain Xu Musen’s favor?
Celebrity fans who have chased information on the casting of this character role all exploded. They all left messages on the Internet to diss Tao Mu for going through the back door, thinking that Xu Musen had bowed to capital. Some people even believed that Xu Musen would ruin the film and called on all fans to boycott the movie, to never compromise on a shoddy movie. Others diverged towards a new regulation just introduced by the CFA——that co-productions must be equal in the proportion of actors. That was to say, if one of the male and female protagonists was from Hong Kong or Taiwan, then the other must be from the mainland. These people believed that the mainland film and television industry was trying to suppress the Hong Kong entertainment circle.
All in all, it was like a gust of wind had unsettled all kinds of demons to pop up and dance wildly. In contrast, only Tao Mu’s fans were in high spirits and were simply happy that their idol had the opportunity to pit his acting chops with a lot of big stars——yes, pitting acting chops. Tao Mu’s fans have always been confident in Tao Mu’s ability. Even if they have never seen Tao Mu acting, they all agreed that Tao Mu’s acting skills must be very good. After all, according to the industry’s evaluation, he could KO Wang Boyuan and PK best actor Yan Sheng.
At the same time when netizens from both Hong Kong and the mainland fell into a state of eating melons, Tao Mu flew to Hong Kong in a low-key manner to meet Xu Musen and the production team of the movie “Black and White” in person to negotiate the contract.
Tao Mu, who had not yet found an agent, took their pitiful and helpless Lawyer Zhou as usual. As a top tier economic lawyer in China, Zhou Shenxing had never been in contact with a contract in the entertainment industry before. However, Zhou Shenxing could analyze whether each clause would cause losses to Tao Mu economically from the terms of the contract. This strange contract signing method also opened the eyes of Zhou Musen and the producers of “Black and White”.
Once again, they realized that there was a reason Tao Mu was able to create FlyNews.com from scratch at a young age and become a partner of Xiaoheng Capital. It was definitely not for nothing.
When signing the contract, Zhou Musen also smiled and asked Tao Mu if he had any intention of investing into the crew. Tao Mu politely declined.
He said that as a small supporting role who just appeared no more than 20 minutes, he was embarrassed to invest money into the crew. So as not to damage the normal ecology of the crew. Of course, the main reason why Tao Mu was so humble and low-key was that after the movie was released, the box office in the mainland was not high——because the reviewing of the movie by the CFA dragged on for too long, lasting half a year in all. So fans who couldn’t wait began watching pirated DVDs. So when the movie was finally released in the mainland, the attendance at theaters was very bleak——after all it was not the kind of 3D movie that had to be seen in a movie theater in order to really experience the stunning visuals. Fans who have already watched the pirated discs were really not interested in going to the cinema to watch it again.
This was also the embarrassing situation that Hong Kong films often encountered when it entered the mainland film market.
Because of the gossip paparazzi’s revelations, Xu Musen and the crew also knew that Tao Mu was going to experience life in the police academy a few months in advance before joining the crew. Xu Musen originally invited Tao Mu to play the role of Zhou Yuanting, mainly because he was interested in Tao Mu’s identity as the founder of FlyNews.com. Secondly, he also saw the news on the Internet that Tao Mu had actually forced himself into a fever in order to interpret a role, and even went to a drug rehab center to experience life. He inquired about Tao Mu’s acting skills through his personal connections, and even called his friend who was a teacher in Beijing Film, and finally confirmed that Tao Mu should be qualified for this role.
——As netizens said, there was indeed a bit of bowing to capital going on. But Xu Musen didn’t expect that Tao Mu had not even signed a contract with the crew, and yet he had already thought of going to the Hong Kong Royal Police Academy to experience life and prepare for the role. Moreover, he even got permission from the police academy.
No matter what Tao Mu’s acting skills were, first of all, this attitude made Xu Musen quite satisfied. He felt that the news from the mainland and his colleagues were really not exaggerating. At least in terms of work ethics and professionalism, Tao Mu really didn’t need anyone to worry about him.
After all, things like preparing months in advance for a role, even some popular young actors in the circle couldn’t do it, let alone a domineering CEO like Tao Mu, who was worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Usually, most young actors would only join the crew the day before the filming and then start reading the script on the day of filming. Occasionally, a teleprompter was even needed during filming.
In contrast, Tao Mu’s serious preparation at least allowed Xu Musen to see Tao Mu’s sincerity.
Taking advantage of the free time after signing the contract, Tao Mu also took out his script and character biography and gave it to Xu Musen. The main reason was to ask Xu Musen to help him look it over and narrow down what preparations Tao Mu needed to do to play the role of Zhou Yuanting.
Because he had acting experience in his previous life, Tao Mu knew that the role of Zhou Yuanting had quite a few fight scenes——this was also an important reason why Xu Musen invited Tao Mu to play the role. He had seen Tao Mu’s action scenes, and thought that Tao Mu’s role as Zhou Musen would at least not require a stand-in. This was very valuable when shooting. At least it could ensure that Zhou Yuanting’s shots would be smoother and there wouldn’t be a need to cut too many shots.
Therefore, when Tao Mu was designing the character biography, he also paid special attention to interpreting the character’s inner thoughts and mindset with fight scenes.
Tao Mu thought that when the character Zhou Yuanting first appeared, he could use the fighting skills of the police academy in the fight scenes. This showed that although Zhou Yuanting’s character was impulsive and seemed very audacious, he was actually very influenced by the environment and had always believed that he was a policeman.
With the deepening of the plot, Zhou Yuanting’s mood gradually changed after he entered the gang, and the fight scenes also changed from normal fighting skills to more lethal moves. Some fancy bells and whistles were reduced, and only direct and deadly moves aimed to kill remained. When fighting, he also changed from deliberately not hurting people’s lives to focusing on aiming at his opponent’s vital points. And then finally at the end of the plot where he killed with a single shot from his gun. Using the fight scenes to highlight his character’s inner evolution.
This was something Xu Musen did not consider. After all, although Xu Musen was good at shooting police and gangster films, the film “Black and White” was mainly about the intrigue between the two male protagonists and had few action scenes. The role of Zhou Yuanting was just a small supporting role who appeared for less than 20 minutes. The role was not even as important as the ones played by several veteran big stars. So Xu Musen and the screenwriter did not consider so much when writing the script.
Only Tao Mu started from his own point of view, plus he had played this role in his previous life, and he had read many film reviews written by professional film critics. Only due to these combination of factors could he think of starting from this point and interpreting the characters more three-dimensionally.
Of course, to a certain extent, it could be regarded as adding scenes to oneself.
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But Tao Mu’s action scenes were originally in his original set of scenes. What Tao Mu did was just finely traced a few circles on the original outline of the plot. It did not change the duration of the character’s appearance, nor did it violate the character settings. It could even make the rhythm of the film with too many speaking scenes more compact and exciting. So Xu Musen did not feel offended. He even praised Tao Mu’s character biography. He felt that Tao Mu had really thought deeply about the script and the characters.
Of course, this was mainly because Tao Mu’s identity was not the same as that of ordinary newbie actors. It was unknown if Xu Musen would still be so pleased if it was another young actor who had no background and no support, yet rashly proposed in front of the director that he wanted to design the fight scenes by himself before he even joined the crew.
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