As promised, here’s my Chinese movie debut

一次性爱上2  Fall in Love at First Sight 2

一次性爱上2 Fall in Love at First Sight 2. From left, Hua Kun, Qu TongYu, Liu Rong

JISHOU, HUNAN — Back in September, I was recruited to play a part in a Chinese web movie, Fall in Love at First Sight 2 (一次性爱上2 yī cì xìng aì shàng 2). The romantic comedy was released to VIP (paying) web users last month, and as of today, is free for anyone to watch online.

For various reasons, I cannot embed the movie here. So, I’m hoping that you’ll be able to watch it by clicking on this link www.iqiyi.com. There will probably be some commercials at the beginning. They’ll be in Chinese, but the movie is subtitled in Mandarin and English.

Mobbed by reporters, Mr Jason arrives in Jishou

Mobbed by reporters, Mr Jason arrives in Jishou

In it, I play a famous American music producer, Mr Jason, who has come to Xiangxi Prefecture in order to find the Drum Queen, whom he had seen a decade earlier. (The subtitles refer to her throughout as the Drum King, a mistake in translation.) He has come back in hopes of signing her to a record deal. By chance, he runs into a young couple, who manage to unite him with the Drum Queen while also cultivating their own budding romance.

It’s a sequel to a 2013 web movie, Fall Love at First Sight (一次性爱上). In the first movie, the female lead, Wen Ya (played by Qu TongYu 曲桐雨 in both movies), is a young woman engaged to an overbearing Beijing businessman, Liu Ming. Her greatest dream is to become a famous concert violinist. The movie opens with Liu telling her, with a PowerPoint presentation no less, that her chances of a violinist becoming world-famous are nil, so Wen Ya should just forget it.

Instead, she strikes a bargain with her fiancé: she’ll agree to marry him if he lets her go to her hometown in Xiangxi. He agrees.

Once here, Miss Wen hires a tour guide to show her around. Although it was to be a private tour, the guide says she has another client, a goofy young artist, Gao Zhi, who becomes quite smitten with Miss Wen.

In despair, Wen Ya tries to discard her violin several times, but he doggedly retrieves it each time, sometimes at great personal risk. Finally, the two get drunk over dinner in Fenghuang, and he convinces her never to give up her dream. The first movie concludes with her playing violin passionately on the Aizhai Suspension Bridge, one of several tourist spots featured in the two films, which the Xiangxi Tourism Bureau co-sponsored.

Wen Ya and Gao Zhi meet Mr Jason by chance

Wen Ya and Gao Zhi meet Mr Jason by chance (screen cap)

In the sequel, Miss Wen and her new friend, Gao Zhi 高志 (played by Hua Kun 花昆 in the sequel), are staying in the Xiangxi National Hotel and meet Mr Jason by chance in the elevator (at left). Later, Jason’s assistant explains that Mr Jason has come back to Xiangxi — specifically during the International Drum Festival — to find the Drum Queen, and he will not be happy until he finds her.

Gao Zhi and Wen Ya then embark on a mission to persuade the Drum Queen, who abandoned her drumming after a family tragedy ten years before, to play in the International Drum Festival, and reunite with Mr Jason.

Meanwhile, her fiancé, Liu, and her cousin, Lin Xiang, check into the hotel. They are trying to find Wen Ya and bring her back to Beijing. Not being especially clever, they go to a nearby village to find a Drum Queen (in Chinese, Gu Wang 鼓王) but instead find a female magician with the stage name Gu Wang 鼓王. After they help her put on her show, Liu forces Gu to help him break up Wen and Gao.

Gao Zhi and Mr Jason celebrate their success

Gao Zhi and Mr Jason celebrate their success

You’ll see me at the very beginning, around the 52:00 mark and again near the end (at right). It’s not a speaking part, so I’m not in the opening credits, but I am credited as “John” in the end credits. Along with this new found fame, I earned the fortune of 1,000 RMB (about $166) for about 16 hours of work spread over three days.

By the way, Trans Li DongLing, who is Guest Blogger 2, was my interpreter for those three days. I offered to pay her 10% of my scale, but she refused. She said the experience was payment enough. I have to agree; the experience was a nice break from teaching.

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