The Straits Times/Asia News Network
(From left) Dylan Wang (Daoming Si), Connor Leong (Meizuo), Darren Chen (Huazelei) and Caesar Wu take on the roles of the boys collectively known as F4 in the 2018 reboot of Meteor Garden. (Weibo via The Straits Times/File)
A bunch of fresh faces have been announced to play the leads in the highly anticipated Meteor Garden TV drama reboot, 16 years after the original series premiered on Taiwanese television.
In the lead as strong-willed student Shancai is Chinese newbie actress Shen Yue, 20, while the actors taking on the roles as her school's four richest and most popular boys - known collectively as F4 - will be Taipei native Darren Chen (playing Huazelei) as well as Chinese actors Dylan Wang (Daoming Si), Connor Leong (Meizuo), and Caesar Wu (Ximen). The hunks are all 21-years-old and stand tall at an average height of 1.85m.
The new cast were officially revealed on stage at a press conference in Shanghai on Thursday.
Wang said at the event that he was three years old when the original drama had aired, and that his mother was so hooked on the show that she did not have time to cook dinner for the family. Chen added that he was only in kindergarten at the time.
The 48-episode reboot, which is being produced by creator of the original show, Angie Chai, is set to hit TV screens next year ( 2018 ). The story is drawn from Japanese comic series Boys Over Flowers.
An earlier Straits Times report said that the new Meteor Garden would be made for NT$720 million (S$33 million), or NT$15 million an episode. That is 30 times the budget for the 2001 drama, which was made for NT$500,000 an episode.
The original series, which was a mega hit across Asia, had shot actress Barbie Hsu as well as singer-actors Jerry Yan, Vic Chou, Ken Chu and Van Ness Wu to superstardom in the region. The show was such a phenomenon that the four guys recorded albums and went on concert tours as F4 the boyband.
So far, it looks like Hsu, 41, has given her blessing for the new cast.
In an Instagram post on her account @barbie.hsu, she posted pictures of herself as well as Shen and captioned in a mix of English and Chinese: "Goodbye old! Hello new! All the best!"
She also shared a picture of the four new hunks and wrote in Chinese: "All the love! Please support them. #NewF4."