5 things you didn't know about To Be a Better Man
To Be A Better Man has become China's new #1 winner in ratings. The story covers a mature topic about a man who goes through life's unexpected turns and gets a second chance to live and find love again. Find out some interesting surprises that you probably didn't know about this unusual drama.
1. Sun Honglei plays Lu Yuan, a man who is a star chef but loses everything he holds dear. Can he rise again? The leading man took classes for months in a culinary school in order to play a Michelin-starred chef convincingly. He is the Robert De Niro of China, who can mesmerize the audience in any role he decides the take on.
He first rose to fame playing the son of Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) in an award winning film, The Road Home, as he narrated how his parents met and fell in love in a small village.
2. Actress Jiang Shuying plays Jiang Lai, a temperamental heiress who is frustrated by matters of love. In real life, she used to date Nirvana in Fire's leading man Hu Ge, but the couple eventually broke up.
She now says she prefers men who would cry when watching TV dramas. Does this mean Hu Ge doesn't? (Read more about Hu Ge.)
3. Many visually stunning scenes in the drama - For instance, did you know the wine bath was filled with real wine in an explosive scene? Guess how many bottles it took to fill the tub!
The drama was given a huge budget of $23 million, allowing director Zhang Xiao Bo to pay attention to minute details. For instance, he filled the tub with 63 bottles of red wine, Instead of using fruit punch. The aerial scene showing the coastal highway was shot using a helicopter, instead of using cheaper drone photography. The details even applied to the knives, utensils, and even the uniforms, to match what would qualify for a Michelin 3-starred restaurant.
4. Genoa for Seattle - Just one week before the production team was ready to fly to Seattle according to plan, they were notified that travel visas could not be obtained in time from the US government. Genoa, Italy, was then proposed to stand in for Seattle because of its similar weather and geographic imagery, which the director deemed critical to fully express the lonely feelings in a foreign city.
For the American characters, the production had to hire local Italian actors whose English was not quite up to expectation. In many cases, extra dubbing was later added, but it is probably still noticeable to American viewers. At least we know they tried their best.
5. EXO's Lay plays Xiao Cai, who wants to become a chef. When the drama was filming in Italy, Lay was so dedicated to the work that he refused to take a sick leave so as not to affect the schedule.
He is extremely popular in China. Did you know his Chinese name is Zhang Yixing?
Ultimately, what makes To Be A Better Man stand out is its impeccable storytelling about diverse and intersecting relationships in modern China. It uses effective flashbacks that are sprinkled throughout to fill in the voids and infuse the drama with a mysterious ambiance. Viewers grow to love the perfect ensemble of imperfect characters who each has a purpose to fill in life.
The overall production lets the viewers enjoy a robust cinematic experience as if we're watching a movie at the theater.
No wonder the unusual drama has risen to be #1 in Chinese TV ratings in 2016.
Check out this amazing drama:
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