Fri, May 06, 2005 - Page 14 News List

Pop Stop

Compiled by Ho Yi and Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Zhang Ziyi suffers from the runs. Well, that's the gossip.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

Jay Chou (周杰倫) first had to worry about China boycotting his soon-to-be-released movie, Initial D (頭文字D), because of political tensions and is now facing the same threat from enraged fans of the Japanese comic that the movie is based on. They say the star's acting is unforgivably poor. The movie isn't out in China yet, but copies of the film on pirated DVDs are circulating and the reaction has been vociferous on the comic's fan sites. Jay's record company, Alfa, has responded to the noise by saying it has "total confidence" in the singer's acting skills, according to the Great Daily News (大成報).

Several years after the peak of F4's popularity in Taiwan, the four-piece boy band has found a new market in Japan, where the release of Meteor Shower (流星雨) took the band into the top 10 on Japan's main pop chart, marking a first for a Taiwanese band. Previously, the only non-Japanese to make it onto the country's pop chart were Jackie Chan (成龍) and three South Korean singers, all of whom sung in Japanese. F4's album is entirely in Mandarin and still squeezed its way into the No. 10 spot. Whatever's hot in Japan eventually makes its way to Taiwan, so could F4's success there portend a strong comeback at home? Watch for it this summer.

China's hottest export, Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), made an emergency trip to the hospital over the weekend in Korea where she was attending a Christian Dior party. The actress had come down with a nasty case of food poisoning at home in Beijing, but went to Korea anyway and ended up going to the emergency room clutching her belly. She was out in a couple hours, though, and the situation was said to not be serious.

The entertainment world suffered a grievous loss this week when one of the greatest Taiwanese comedians and actors, Ni Min-jan (倪敏然), was found dead on Sunday, after having been reported missing for more than two weeks. He hanged himself over a cliff in a mountainous area near Toucheng (頭城) in Ilan County. The real reason for his suicide will be forever buried with him, but all speculations from his close friends seem to point to his extramarital affair with Chinese actress Xia Yi (夏禕).

According to Ni's friends, the legendary veteran comedian had been greatly agitated by recent financial and family problems and suffered severe depression without realizing it.

Ni's second wife, Lee Li-hua (李麗華), though completely heartbroken and devastated, said to local media, ``Please don't blame Xia. Since they were truly in love, and he could realize his passion for theater with Xia, I just couldn't bear the thought of putting an end to their relationship and left Ni in great pain.''

Since Ni's 83-year-old mom has been hospitalized for cancer treatment, the family thought the news would be too much for her and decided to lie about Ni's death as long as they could. One of Ni's best friends, Yu Tien (余天), is planning to organize a fundraising event to help out Ni's family.

On a much happier note, Taiwanese beauty Chen Xiao-xuan (陳孝萱) recently confirmed the good news of her pregnancy after dodging rumors and questions for weeks. She and her metrosexual boyfriend Zhan

Ren-xiong (詹仁雄) are both thrilled about the unborn baby, but said they are not ready to live together, not to mention get married. But Chen has no need to worry about being a single mom: The successful producer has already proven that he will be a good dad by going to every prenatal checkup with Chen, regardless of his busy schedule.

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