Pop Stop

Compiled by Catherine Shu  /  Staff Reporter

Fri, Aug 12, 2011 - Page 14

Lin Chi-ling (林志玲) has been maligned for her attempts at acting and singing, but the supermodel may have finally established herself as a bona fide thespian by appearing in a theatrical adaptation of Red Cliff (赤壁) in Tokyo.

Reprising the role of Xiao Qiao (小喬), which Lin previously performed in John Woo’s (吳宇森) two-part film version of the classic Chinese story, Lin spoke her lines in fluent Japanese and managed to lower her much-criticized baby voice thanks to extensive vocal training. Even the toughest critics were appeased.

“Real tears splashed on the stage. Her emotions were sincere,” the Apple Daily swooned.

The United Daily News reported that Lin had finally smashed her reputation for being a “flower vase” (花瓶), or just another pretty face.

Lin’s manager Fan Ching-mei (范清美) said that the entire run of Red Cliffs — Love (赤壁─愛) in Ginza sold out. As one of the main characters, Lin was onstage for most of the two-and-a-half-hour performance.

Lin appeared with Akira (real name Ryohei Kurosawa), a member of Japanese boy band Exile, who played General Zhou Yu (周瑜), Xiao Qiao’s love interest. According to Fan, Lin arrived in Japan a month ago to start dress rehearsals and had to overcome stage fright every night. “Before each time she went on the stage, she would high five Akira for good luck,” Fan said.

Lin follows in the footsteps of A-mei (阿妹, real name Chang Hui-mei, 張惠妹), who appeared in a Japanese-language production of Turandot in Tokyo three years ago. The pop star had originally hoped to catch one of Lin’s performances, but celebrated her 39th birthday in Taiwan instead. Celebrities who managed to make it to the shows included Taiwanese-Japanese pop singer Ouyang Fei-fei (歐陽菲菲) and Taiwanese celebrity stylist and “fashion guru” Iven Hong (洪偉明).

Pop Stop readers will remember that Cecilia Cheung (張柏芝) and Nicholas Tse (謝霆鋒) recently celebrated their son’s fourth birthday with a party and a 12-hour-long divorce mediation. The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) said the protracted negotiations resembled a “bad, overlong soap opera.”

Hong Kong gossip pages reported that Cheung had a change of heart at the “very last minute” of the discussion. Just as the estranged couple was moving toward an agreement over several key issues, Cheung suddenly insisted that she wanted sole custody of their children. Tse, however, wants to co-parent the two small boys. The feuding duo plan to enter yet another round of divorce negotiations soon, according to reports.

In happier marital news, Taiwanese singer Rene Liu (劉若英), also known by her nickname “Milk Tea” (奶茶), surprised fans when she announced on her Web site that she got married last week in Beijing to financier Zhong Shi (鐘石, nickname Zhong Xiaojiang, 鍾小江). As the United Daily put it, Liu’s nuptials mean the 41-year-old can now shake off the troubling moniker of “golden leftover” (黃金剩女), which describes a woman who has been so focused on career success that she has forsaken love.

Instead, Liu has taken on yet another nickname: “The Second Big S.” As Pop Stop readers will recall, Big S (real name Barbie Hsu, 徐熙媛) secretly wed Wang Xiaofei (汪小菲) last November. Both Liu and Big S are Taiwanese pop stars now married to wealthy Chinese businessmen — in fact, newspapers reported that Zhong and Wang move in the same moneyed circles and are good friends.

Liu and Zhong have struggled to keep a low profile and ward off the paparazzi in Beijing since announcing their union. While the news came as a surprise to the media, friends say the couple had been planning to wed for several months. Liu’s mentor, singer Sylvia Chang (張艾嘉), told reporters that she had met Chung and found him to be “very honest.”

“I’m sure that he will take good care of Milk Tea,” Chang said.