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Red Mansions remake starts despite undecided cast
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Following a full year of controversy-plagued casting and the turbulence of a director's resignation, the highly anticipated remake of the Chinese classic TV serial A Dream of Red Mansions was formally launched on Tuesday. Online portal reported the details.

One of China's top female directors, 52-year-old Li Shaohong, will take over the director's responsibilities from her old classmate Hu Mei, who resigned in September due to "disappointment at the cast members selected from the contest."

Cinematographer Zeng Nianping, also Li Shaohong's husband and long-time film-making partner, will be the director of photography.

Hong Kong-based Oscar-winner Yip Tim-Kap will serve as the art director.

The cast, the makeup of which has been in dispute, is still not confirmed. The competitors in the casting contest still have a chance, but only to form a small part of the huge cast.

"The original work portrays more than 600 characters. The TV serial may involve about 200 of them. The actors selected from the contest are far from enough. We are looking at the profiles of each competitor. Additionally, three working groups are working on casting across the country," director Li Shaohong said.

The budget for the 50-episode serial reaches about 50 million yuan (about US$7 million).

Production is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2008 and go until August. The series will be aired in 2009.

Director Li Shaohong spoke at the media conference for announcement of the TV serial A Dream of Red Mansions in Beijing on Tuesday, October 30, 2007.

Cinematographer Zeng Nianping attends the media conference for A Dream of Red Mansions in Beijing on Tuesday, October 30, 2007.

( October 31, 2007)

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