Wong Kar-Wai Sets 'Blossoms Shanghai' As His First TV Series

Back in 2015, Wong Kar-wai began development on the feature film Blossoms, based on the short stories by Jin Yucheng, intended to be his follow-up to his 2013 film The Grandmaster. But as the years passed, and Wong flirted with heading over to television with the now-dead Amazon series Tong WarsBlossoms has bloomed into Blossoms Shanghai, a TV drama project that is set to be Wong's television debut.

The filmmaker of Hong Kong arthouse classics such as In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express is making his TV debut with Blossoms Shanghai, Deadline reports. But it was a long and unpredictable road for Wong's TV project, which initially wasn't set to be his TV debut at all. Wong's first TV project, Amazon's Tong Wars, was axed earlier this year, while the early version of Blossoms, a feature film that had been in the works since 2015, was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the movie is still in the works, Wong is keeping the project alive with a TV series adaptation of the epic novel by Jin Yucheng.

Written by award-winning Shanghainese screenwriter Qin Wen and shot by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon cinematographer Peter Pau, Blossoms Shanghai is set to star Hu Ge (2019 Cannes darling The Wild Goose Lake) as an "enigmatic, self-made millionaire, Mr. Bao," on "his journey of reinvention from a young opportunist with a troubled past to the heights of the gilded city of Shanghai. Set against the backdrop of massive economic growth in 1990's Shanghai, the series unveils the glamour that follows his dazzling wealth and his entanglement with four fabulous women that represent the pursuits of his life: adventure, honor, love and innocence."

Wong created and produced Blossoms Shanghai in homage to his birthplace, in a portrait of the city's massive economic growth in the '90s. Wong will also direct the pilot episode.

"Jin Yucheng's landmark novel Blossoms has been the perfect backdrop to visualize and share my love for my birth city," said Wong in a statement. "With the series, I would like to invite the audience to immerse in the intrigues of Shanghai and its inhabitants in the early 1990s, an exciting time that paved the way for the prosperity of modern Shanghai."

Blossoms Shanghai will shoot in Shanghai. Wong's Jet Tone is set to produce. Tencent Penguin Pictures has acquired the rights for China. Block 2 Distribution is handling international sales.

There is no word on whether this series adaptation of Blossoms will affect Wong's planned feature film, but the filmmaker is hoping to return to the feature realm to save the Hong Kong industry, as one of the leading filmmakers working on a $33.5 million plan to boost the region's filmmaking.