Blossoms Shanghai: Wong Kar Wai Begins Work on His First TV Series

Critics' darling and deliberately enigmatic filmmaker Wong Kar Wai has begun work on his first TV series, Blossoms Shanghai. The show is an adaptation of award-winning novel Blossoms by Shanghainese novelist Jin Yucheng. Wong had previously announced he was adapting the novel into a movie. It was to be considered a spiritual and thematic sequel to In the Mood for Love and 2046, which were in turn sequels to Wong's second movie Days of Being Wild, the movie that originally put him on the map before he achieved international fame with Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love.

Rising star Hu Ge, who most recently starred in the acclaimed film noir Wild Goose Lake, will play the lead. Shanghainese screenwriter Qin Wen will write the scripts. Academy Award-winning cinematographer Peter Pau, who shot Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is onboard to shoot the series. Wong will direct the pilot episode to establish the visual style and rhythm of the series before handing it off to other directors. He will serve as a producer to oversee the series.

Blossoms Shanghai
"Blossoms Shanghai" poster, Jet Tone

The official synopsis says the show "tells the story of an enigmatic, self-made millionaire, Mr. Bao (Ge), and his journey of reinvention from a young opportunist with a troubled past to the heights of the gilded city of Shanghai. Set against the backdrop of massive economic growth in 1990s Shanghai, the series unveils the glamour that follows his dazzling wealth and his entanglement with four fabulous women that represent the pursuits of his life: adventure, honor, love, and innocence."

It looks like the show will follow Wong's common themes of a selfish, emotionally shut-off man and the long-suffering women who love him. The original novel jumped between the 1960s and 1990s Shanghai. Given that the 1960s often feature prominently in Wong's nostalgia-tinged movies, the show might feature flashbacks to the 1960s to juxtapose the difference between the past and the modern era.

"Jin Yucheng's landmark novel 'Blossoms' has been the perfect backdrop to visualize and share my love for my birth city," Wong said in his official statement. "With the series, I would like to invite the audience to immerse in the intrigues of Shanghai and its inhabitants in the early 1990s, an exciting time that paved the way for the prosperity of modern Shanghai."

Blossoms Shanghai will be shot in Shanghai, produced by Wong's company Jet Tone. Tencent Penguin Pictures has acquired the rights on behalf of China. Block 2 Distribution is handling international sales. Since Wong Kar Wai movies always get a lot of international attention, it's reasonable to expect the series will show up in the US on a streaming service or premium cable channel. Just remember that Chinese TV series tend to have anywhere between 40 and 72 episodes per season, so be prepared to invest a lot of your time.

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.