Adapted from Malaysian author Yangsze Choo’s bestselling novel of the same name, ‘The Ghost Bride’ tells the story of Li Lan, a girl who is asked to marry a ghost to save her family from a lifetime of debt
Check out the fantastical trailer below:
Haunted by the ghost of her would-be groom and desperate to escape her dark fate, Li Lan finds herself trapped in the otherworldly kingdom of the Chinese afterlife.
She must navigate her way through an underworld filled with ghost cities and vengeful spirits to uncover the truth behind dark secrets, before she is trapped in the ghostly world forever.
Li Lan, the heroine of the series, is a girl ahead of her time and we can’t wait to see how her journey unfolds
Brave and strong-willed, she will delve deeper and deeper into the underworld in her attempt to not only uncover the truth about the death of her unintended fiancé, but also to reclaim her freedom.
She’s not one to sit around waiting to be saved from a fate she does not want. From exploring the seven levels of the underworld, to discovering the true callings of her heart, Li Lan is unafraid and determined to do things herself.
It is this drive of hers that will keep her going along the unbeaten path to save herself and her loved ones, ultimately finding herself and love along the way.
While it may sound like the series is mostly going to be set in the supernatural world, there’s actually a huge part of it that features Malaysia!
Set in 1890s colonial Melaka, ‘The Ghost Bride’ shines a spotlight on Peranakan culture in Malaysia, bringing its colourful history to life on a global stage. The series was filmed in various parts of Malaysia, including locations in Penang, Ipoh, and Johor Bahru.
From scenes of the busy streets of Melaka, to characters travelling by trishaw, and idyllic moments of wandering through fields, the series portrays Melaka in a beautifully nostalgic and vibrant manner.
The portrayal of Melaka may not be historically accurate as per the times. Instead, slightly more modern elements were included in order to create a dynamic world that people could easily be immersed in.
Emphasis was also placed on setting the human world apart from the supernatural one. This is why the scenes of Melaka are filled with warm tones and bright colours, in contrast to the dark and sombre tones of the underworld.
‘The Ghost Bride’ aims to bring back Peranakan culture with a modern twist, by showcasing and blending both modern and traditional cultural elements
This is perfectly demonstrated in the costumes, including the kebayas worn by Li Lan and some other outfits worn by the various male characters.
While in the human world, Li Lan’s kebayas are more true to traditional Peranakan wear, with its light colours and delicate embroidery, bringing out that lovely vintage vibe. Once she descends into the underworld, more Western elements, such as Gothic, are added to her outfits.
As for the male characters, we’ll see a mixture of looks on each one, from classic suits of the time, to traditional Chinese styles, and even some surprise elements when you least expect it. One example is the addition of batik fabric to a more fantasy-themed outfit.
Besides being a key location in the story, the Lim Mansion also serves as majestic representation of Chinese cultural elements
From antiques to decals, the grand mansion is completely covered in stunning Asian features. This includes items that were specifically placed to accentuate the family’s wealth and position, such as carved wooden furniture and elegant porcelain vases.
Plus, even key members of the cast and crew are Malaysian!
‘The Ghost Bride’ is helmed by Malaysian directors Quek Shio-Chuan and Ho Yuhang, who have both made a name for themselves in the local film industry. The former is most well-known for his award-winning autobiographical film ‘Guang’, while the latter has critically acclaimed movies like ‘At the End of Daybreak’ under his belt.
Meanwhile, Malaysian actor and Mandarin musical and theatre artist Kuang Tian, is playing Tian Ching, the ghost who so desperately wants to marry Li Lan. Li Lan herself is played by emerging Taiwanese actress Huang Peijia.
Award-winning Taiwanese actor Wu Kang Jen and Canadian-Chinese Hollywood star Ludi Lin are taking on the roles of the two other male leads – Er Lang (a mysterious Heavenly Guard) and Tian Bai (Tian Ching’s cousin and Li Lan’s main love interest).
Are you as excited as we are to watch ‘The Ghost Bride’? Don’t forget to catch it on 23 January 2020 when it releases on Netflix!
Check out this behind-the-scenes video for a sneak peek of what to expect: