Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The HCM City-based film studio BHD is remaking the award-winning American comedy-drama TV series Glee with Vietnamese actors and a new plot.
The original TV show focused on a glee club called New Directions at William McKinley High School led by teacher Will Schuester.
Apart from becoming a strong team to compete in the choir competition circuit, the club’s members have to deal with social issues, relationships and discrimination during the TV series.
The show, which began airing in the US in 2009, was broadcast for six seasons with a total of 121 episodes, featuring hundreds of famous songs.
Glee received a number of awards and nominations, including Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 2010 and 2011, and an Emmy award for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series in 2011.
In the Vietnamese version called Glee Việt Nam, the story is set at a College of Arts and Sports. The club will be named Glee Club with 12 members led by teacher Hoàng Minh.
The film reflects issues which young people must face in school and life, including friendship, love, class distinction and sex discrimination.
The production is directed by veteran filmmaker Nguyễn Phan Quang Bình, who is famous for movies Vũ Khúc Con Cò (Dance of the Stork) and Cánh Đồng Bất Tận (The Floating Lives).
Vũ Khúc Con Cò received the Best Feature Film prize at the Milan Film Festival in Italy in 2003, while Cánh Đồng Bất Tận won the Golden Kite Awards for best film, best actress and best supporting actor from the Việt Nam Cinematography Association in 2010.
“I’m a fan of Glee. To many Vietnamese directors and composers, remaking the film is a dream,” Bình said, adding that Glee Việt Nam will have new details in the plot suitable to Vietnamese culture.
The producer has invited young, attractive singers and actors to play the club’s members, such as Angela Phương Trinh, Thái Trinh, Rocker Nguyễn and Bích Ngọc, who are popular among young audiences.
Veteran actors Thành Lộc and Đỗ An are also in the production.
“The cast and I are spending several hours a day improving our singing and dancing skills,” said Trinh, 21.
She found success when she was 12 years old for her role in the TV series Mùi Ngò Gai (The Scent of Sage Leaves), a co-production of Vietnamese and South Korean filmmakers.
Last year, she played a leading role in the blockbuster Taxi, Em Tên Gì? (Taxi Driver - What’s Your Name), which earned VNĐ10 billion (US$450,000) within 10 days of release in cinemas.
“I hope audiences will warmly welcome Glee Việt Nam,” said Trinh.
However, after the project was announced last month, a number of people expressed their doubts about the film’s cast and plot.
“Glee is part of our childhood. It inspired us to express ourselves and our talents. My expectation for the Vietnamese version is a better cast with good voices and acting skills,” said Đỗ Bá Sơn, 30, of Biên Hòa City in Đồng Nai Province.
Trần Cẩm Tiên, 25, a nurse at District 3 Hospital in HCM City, said: “I’m worried about the changes in the characters and the plot.”
The producers and actors, however, are not concerned about the modifications.
Bình said that it was necessary to change the plot to renew the Vietnamese version.
“If not, it would be too similar to the original one. I expect the audience will welcome and love Glee Việt Nam,” he added.
Trinh also said that her voice and dancing skills were not especially good, but that she believed her efforts would change audiences’ minds.
“I hope my fans will see how I’ve changed and how I’ve tried to work carefully,” she added.
A BHD representative said the TV series targets audiences aged 15-24.
The series will be broadcast free on local online channels that show TV series and movies such as Danet, FPT Play and MyTV.
The first season of Glee Việt Nam, consisting of 22 episodes, will begin in mid-August. — VNS