The popularity of streaming services have been steadily growing throughout the years, and none have been more successful than Netflix. So in order to keep the momentum going, the streaming giant has set their sights on a new market, that being the market in South East Asia.

After establishing their headquarters of the region in Singapore, it didn’t take long for them to gain million of subscribers to their service. Now in order to really hit the nail on the head, the company has decided to test out the waters with several local productions, one of which is “The Ghost Bride” premiering on 23rd January 2020.

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“Set in 1890s colonial Malacca the story revolved around a girl name Li Lan, who receives a marriage proposal from the wealthy Lim Family to become the ‘ghost bride’ to their recently deceased son. Li Lan is ensnared in a mysterious incident that will change her life forever.”

Best-seller “The Ghost Bride”, written by Malaysian author Yangsze Choo, was even selected by Oprah Winfrey as a recommended read. If that wasn’t enough to get you to watch series, then here are five more reasons on why you should should the Netflix’s original “The Ghost Bride”.

1. It was shot entirely in Malaysia 

Malaysia has been a really popular place to film lately, as seen by several Hollywood productions like “Crazy Rich Asians”. However, this series was shot completely in Malaysia. Most of the location used for the setting in the Netflix original is located in Johor and Penang, though, ironically the story itself was set in Malacca. So remember to keep a lookout if you so happen to recognise a place in the background.

2. Local production

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Admittedly, a lot of international talents were involve with the show, as per usual with such a big Netflix production. However, majority of the talents that we see on screen and behind the scenes are Malaysians, which technically still make the series a local production.

Since the streaming company is using the show to test out the waters in our market, it might be beneficial for us to show some support to our local talent, in order to open up more opportunities for our homegrown stars in the future.

3. International award winning local directors, Quek Shio Chuan and Ho Yu Hang

Speaking of talent, the directors for the show are local pair – Quek Shio Chuan (left) and Ho Yu Hang (right). Quek is a relatively newcomer to serialise shows, with him only done short and feature-length films before this. However, the “Guang” director has no shortage of talent as he had won awards at International film festivals, most notably his best short film award at the 6th Alto Vicentino Film Festival in Santorso, Italy, being the first Asian short film to do so. 

In Ho’s case, he’s already a veteran in the industry with him having more than a decade of experience. His features and shorts have won him several awards in some prestige international film festivals which includes, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Venice Film Festival and Locarno Film Festival.

The directors took turns directing the six-episode series with both of them directing 3 episodes each. Quek was responsible for the first half while the next half was directed by Ho. Still, they were present at each other’s shooting location to learn and helped each other out on certain scenes.

In speaking about the differences between the duo, Quek shared, “He probably watches 100 films in the cinemas each year. I spend most of time at home watching YouTube!” When asked what would he do if he should one day be asked to marry a ghost like Li Lan, instead of dismissing the idea right away he smiled and asked a question in return: “I’d want to know why me.”

4. Headed by “The Flash” Writer, Kai Yu Wu

What is a show without its script, and audiences need not to worry about the series as the head writer for the adaptation is Kai Yu Wu. The Taiwanese-American is known predominantly for her work in renown series such as “Hannibal”, and most recently she also did the superhero series, “The Flash”.

Although she used to be freaked out by ghost weddings as a child, her work on this script has thought her that ghost weddings are a way to remember and pay respects to the dead. Thanks to the support from the Netflix team, Kai was able to incorporate more modern perspectives and feminine energy into “The Ghost Bride”.

5. Based on the New York Times best-seller novel by Malaysian, Yangsze Choo

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As briefly mention before, the show in question is an adaptation from the novel of the same name written by fellow Malaysian Yangsze Choo, which surprisingly was her debut novel. The book published in August 2013 and has since become a New York Time best seller. The writer of the book was a graduate from Harvard university and previously work as a management consultant prior to writing her first novel.

Growing up, Choo has always taken a liking to fantasy and supernatural. Using the setting of Malacca in 1890 in the story was due to a combination of Eastern and Western cultural
influences. The author fused fantasy legends of China and Japan such as the bureaucracy of hell with local Malaysian ghost stories.

The first image that came to her mind for “The Ghost Bride” was of a young, pretty girl sitting in a room lit by oil lanterns telling her story: “One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride…” The plot unfolds from this point on.

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Qing An
Our current intern currently exploring what it's like working in the entertainment industry.