selling the drama: catfight!

(This is part of an ongoing series on ploys that production companies use to “sell the drama”.)


This week, it was reported that Zhou Xun and Vicky Zhao fought on the set of The Painted Skin 2 over… are you sitting down? Well, unless one of them has kicked that chair you are sitting down. Yes, they were supposedly fighting over a bloody chair.

The first time I read this news, I burst out laughing. I mean… really now, ladies. Over a chair? I would love to see how that chair they were fighting over looks like. Was it a Philip Starck at least?

Chair by Philip Starck fit for divas.

Or a Kenneth Cobonpue?

Chair by Kenneth Cobonpue fit for sweet ladies

When I asked Raymond Zhou, one of my favorite Chinese columnists, about his inputs on selling the drama, he said he is not really up-to-date with the gossip in the ebiz but that what he heard was the rivalry between Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing on the set of The Message.

Hmm Zhou Xun is the common denominator here. I like her, including the raspy voice, because she’s not your typical simpering leading actress material. I like Vicky Zhao too. But do they like each other?

After the report on the chair fighting came out, a crew working on the set of The Painted Skin 2 uploaded photos of the two actresses seemingly having a good time on the set. Vicky uploaded the photo on her Weibo account too.

Posted by make-up artist @化妆彭平杰 on Weibo

Do they look like they’re having a good time or hamming it up for the cameras?

Posted by make-up artist @化妆彭平杰 on Weibo

Undoubtedly, they are both very good actresses. Rivalry cannot be avoided. Also, they are acting out roles and they can get carried away too. It helps them act out their characters better although the tension on the set is another matter.

At the end of the day, it’s always true: bad publicity is still publicity. Production companies don’t really differentiate between good or bad publicity. Whatever sells the drama. So it’s up to the audience to sift through what’s true and what’s not. If Asian audiences are already mature like in the West, these ploys are not even necessary to bring attention to a project, whether a film or a TV drama.

Unfortunately, we aren’t mature yet so… bring on the catfight!


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