S4 E13 “I’m a helpless believer in love” — A conversation with “Word of Honor” screenwriter Xiaochu

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[Episode theme]

This episode is the edited version of Afra and Izzy’s interview with Xiaochu, screenwriter of the popular Chinese wuxia fantasy “Word of Honor.” We talked about why the show is well-received outside China, her experience studying and trying to make it as a producer in the movie industry in LA, and her understanding of the characters Zhou Zishu and Wen Kexing. There’s also a Q&A with three fans of the show at the end and Xiaochu’s special English message to fans overseas. Listen till the end!

[Timecode]

1:38 How do you feel about the popularity of “Word of Honor” overseas? Did you expect this?

5:54 Xiaochu originally wanted to become a producer and studied film in Los Angeles. What made you decide to go back to China after graduation?

8:39 Why does this show appeal to so many women? How do the two main characters challenge gender norms?

11:08 Xiaochu’s thought process for writing the in-depth character profile for Zhou Zishu in the early stages of writing the show

12:36 Xiaochu talks about the parodies and reactions to “Word of Honor” on the internet

15:49 What’s her favorite TV show these days?

17:38 If she were a character in the world of wuxia, what kind of character would she be?

20:00 Is “Word of Honor” a show that pushes back against workism?

22:30 Female characters in “Word of Honor”

25:36 The relationship between Cao Weining and Guo Xiang

28:28 What’s the one thing Xiaochu insists on keeping intact for the story, despite pressure from others

31: 08 Xiaochu: my mother is the biggest fan of internet reaction to WoH

32:38 How does WoH overcome the barrier of language and culture and appeal to overseas audience

35:16 How does Zhou Zishu reconcile with his initial rebellion against authority and his return to order towards the end of the story?

38: 30 Which scenes or plots didn’t make it into the show? Does Xiaochu want to write out what their life is like after the finale?

[Guest introduction]

Xiaochu: screenwriter of “Word of Honor”

[Audio editor]

Izzy

[Highlights]

Xiaochu: “Personally I’m a totally helpless believer of love, so it means the world to me to see my expression to be heard, to be seen, to be answered by people from so many different cultural backgrounds.”

[Be our sponsor]

Please consider supporting us on Patreon (in USD, suitable for listeners who live in the U.S.): https://www.patreon.com/loudmurmurs.

Please consider supporting us on Patreon (in RMB):

https://afdian.net/p/e0a54e82ebd111e9bd2d52540025c377

【Links & resources】

Our previous episode on “Word of Honor” https://www.buzzsprout.com/258327/8435030-s4-e7-word-of-honor-a-beautiful-queer-fantasy-for-straight-eyes

Boys Keep Flirting With Each Other on Chinese TV But Never Fall in Love by Viola Zhou

https://www.vice.com/en/article/7k95mg/boys-love-drama-china-tv-untamed-lgbtq

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