Be it the actors or the plot, many drama productions have been heavily relying on big names in the past few years. Remaking popular Chinese novels or popular dramas from other countries has almost become the norm and big stars are often preferably casted instead of new talented faces.
The SAPPRFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television) and five ministries just sent out a notice saying that creativity and originality as well as content that enriches knowledge should be encouraged. Drama prices and distribution should be determined by these criteria, having big names as the only criterion should be strictly prohibited in order to safeguard a healthy development of the industry. Variety shows and web dramas should follow the same criteria.
The drama industry believes that the government is attacking high-cost productions with big names like last year’s “Ice Fantasy” or the upcoming “Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace“.
This is actually not the first time the government has been trying to force the industry into a new direction, notices pointing in this way have been released since last year.
Famous screenwriter Wang Hai Lin (Legend of Chu and Han, Patriot) said in an interview with ChinaNews that the government has already realized the seriousness of the problem. Looking at the lineup of the big TV stations for 2017 and 2018, one can see that most dramas are productions with big stars in it. The notice also mentions that creativity and originality should be encouraged, but remakes are still in high regard, even though many of those “pointless” and costume dramas currently fail to enthuse the viewers. The percentage of this kind of dramas has never been as high as now. Perhaps today’s notice can finally change something.
In a special topic on CCTV was also critizised that those extremely expensive actors can’t make up for the bad quality of some productions, pointing at last year’s “Ice Fantasy” or the movie “So You’re Still There”. The head of the Movie and TV Broadcast research center at Qinghua University Yin Hong also explains that those productions are harmful to the industry and lead to heavy imbalances in production funds while the overall production quality is deteriorating. Some productions don’t choose the most fitting actors but go for big names instead. The notice could help to reinstall a healthy balance.
However, Yin Hong also mentions that viewers have already started to prefer high-quality productions over big names. Furthermore, some production companies have become aware of the problem and are raising new talents.
What are your opinions on this trend of casting big names? Are you against novel adaptations and other remakes or do you love watching them?