I had to do a story for one of my ancient Chinese lit classes….
It was an adaptation based on the story of Xuan-Zhong and Yang the prized consort.
I took artistic liberties because I felt that in the poem, while much of it is actually extremely similar, I felt that it lacked life. I felt that Yang was too simple.
In Chinese literature a common thing pops up, that is that beauty is fatal.
While this is an interesting concept, I wanted the female character to be something unusual.
I decided to make the Emperor a rock star because I felt that it might be more interesting. Especially because rock stars are prone to have a soft spot for anything beautiful. Or at least it's rumored to be that way. (I don't know as I have never met a rock star.)
In the original story, the Emperor is tired of his sensual delights. He lacks something and he falls for a very young woman. She is perfect and no other woman (not even one in his 3000 girl harem) can satisfy him.
He takes her into his world, loves her, and then his advisors kill her.
He hides in his palace and mourns her passing.
(My issue with this was that I felt as if he only held infatuation for her. It was only her physical beauty he spoke of, and I felt that she was not a real person.)
She reappears in her spiritual form as the Jade Consort, when a magician happens upon her in the high mountains. She gives him her golden hairpin and tells him to give it to the Emperor so that he will stop living as if he is dead.
It's a tragic story, but very beautiful.
I actually kept the plot very close to it. (There's a lot of tiny tiny details that reference to the original…the name of her first film for instance. And the golden hairpin in the end)
I didn't make the advisors kill her though.
I decided to make her something alive, elusive to him, but real.
I hope that makes sense.
This is very modern…
And I hope this intro wasn't so confusing. I just wanted to make clear that any parts of the story that seemed forced or unfair to the characters had to be there.
Anyways…I'll stop talking now.