The Ghost Bride: Binge-Watch This Malaysian Netflix Series During Chinese New Year
The series is based on The New York Times bestseller by Yangsze Choo, a Harvard graduate from Malaysia currently residing in California. The Ghost Bride is Yangsze's debut novel published in 2013 and was even selected by the editors of oprah.com as their Book of the Week.
Set in Melaka during the British colonial period, it tells the story of Li Lan who receives a proposal to marry the wealthy Lim family's only son, Tian Ching. The only problem is the son is dead.
Haunted by the spirit of Tian Ching and hoping to escape this fate, Li Lan investigates the mysterious circumstances of his death - in the underworld. There, she is helped by a guardian spirit named Er Lang who is charming but unpredictable.
Back in the living world, Li Lan finds herself drawn to the Lim family's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. The mix of supernatural and mystery, not to mention a progressive heroine fighting for her right to choose, makes for an engaging read. Which makes the Netflix six-part series a highly anticipated event.
Last year, Yangsze published her second novel, The Night Tiger, which was picked up by Reese Witherspoon for her book club.
Not one but two Malaysian directors were engaged to bring the text between the 300+ pages to life. Quek Shio Chuan, 33, and Ho Yuhang, 48, shared the duties equally, working on three episodes each.
Shio Chuan (above pic, left) is best known for his debut feature film Guang, which won Best Feature Film at the recent 59th Asia Pacific Film Festival in Macau, the first Malaysian film to receive the honour.
Meanwhile, Ho Yuhang is a film festival circuit favourite whose notable work include Rain Dogs, the first Malaysian film to compete at the Venice Film Festival in 2006, and Mrs K, his first commercial film that stars award-winning Hong Kong actress Kara Wai.
Surprisingly, Melaka was not mentioned as one of the filming locations; instead, it was shot in Penang, Ipoh and Taiping. The remaining scenes were shot at the now-defunct Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios in Johor.
Ludi Lin as Tian Bai and Huang Pei Jia as Li Lan (Photo: Netflix)
Chris Wu as Er Lang and Huang Pei Jia (Photo: Netflix)
A scene depicting the underworld (Photo: Netflix)
Taiwanese actress Huang Pei Jia takes on the lead role of Li Lan. Best known for her TV work, the emerging talent won Best Actress at the Golden Bell Awards 2018 for her performance in Roseki.
The male leads include Ludi Lin (above pic, far left), a Canadian actor whose credits include Hollywood blockbuster Aquaman and Netflix series, Black Mirror, and Chris Wu Kang-jen (middle), who, like Pei Jia, is a well-known name on Taiwanese TV.
Ludi portrays the debonair Tian Bai while Chris plays Er Lang. The role of restless spirit Tian Ching is portrayed by Malaysian theatre actor, Kuang Tian.