Star Kuo Shu-yao and director Chen He Yu are looking forward to the second season
of their hit series, "The Teenage Psychic".
Back in July 2016, HBO Asia unveiled its first Chinese language original series, "The Teenage Psychic". Concluding with six episodes in the first season, the positive reception that the series has garnered throughout its airing has sealed a second season deal for it.
The supernatural series stars singer-actress Kuo Shu-yao, more affectionately known as Yao Yao by fans, as the titular teenage psychic Xie Ya Zhen. Xie is a 16-year-old high school student by day but by night, she is a Xian-gu, using her psychic abilities to help those in need.
Fans can expect to see Xie grow up and mature throughout the series, as director and writer Chen He Yu himself said that the character can't stay 16 forever, though she will continue to have the same innocence and naivety.
Also starring in the first season were Kent Tsai ("Mon Mon Mon Monsters") as He Yun Le, Akio Chen ("The Tenants Downstairs") as Jin Sheng Zai, Alina Cheng ("Our Times") as Huang Qiao Wei and Sylvia Hsieh ("Nie Xiaoqian") as Zhang Nian Wen.
Cinema Online sat down with the actress and director at the recent press interview held at Singapore, to talk about the upcoming season of their hit TV series:
Writer-director Chen He Yu says there will be more spirits in "The Teenage Psychic" Season 2.
Cinema Online: Is there any pressure over the ratings for the second season?
Chen: Of course, we hope that the audience will still like the second season but the problem is they like the characters so much in season one that they were really upset there was a major character death in the first season. For sure, Yao Yao's character will have new growth and there will also be new characters and there will be new chemistry between the characters. My job now is to work on that.
Yao Yao: I don't have any stress yet because I do not do it for the ratings. My stress comes from the director himself. I wonder what challenges I will need to undertake for this season.
Even though you don't know when the script will come out, it's been kept a secret, but surely there's a timeline?
Chen: Well, we're keeping mum about it but it doesn't mean that we're not working on something. Shooting will begin mid of 2018. The story will continue, the characters' growth is not complete yet. In season one, the ending was a bit bittersweet but life is not easy. There will be other challenges that the character will face, just like there are different types of diabetes, there are also different types of spirits.
What kind of growth will we see Xie Ya Zhen have this season?
Chen: Professionally, as a psychic, she's only just coming to terms with the powers that she has. So in season one, her characters didn't meet that many challenges. The challenges that a real psychic would meet is a lot. So, in season two, we will go deeper into her development because life is complicated.
Have you ever thought of turning this series into a movie?
Chen: Because we're collaborating with HBO, the series is, for the moment, the focus. But of course, if there is popular demand, then we can always have a discussion. I graduated in drama, but I've jumped from theatre to TV series. So as long as it has to do with something dramatic, I'm interested.
Yao Yao stars as Xie Ya Zhen in "The Teenage Psychic".
Yao Yao, will you take on sexy roles again? Because you started out with a sexy role and this role is quite different.
Yao Yao: I haven't thought about that, unless the director is thinking of going the sexy way for season two [director laughs]. It depends on the script. If it is not reasonable, it's ridiculous to go that route.
What about something like "Fifty Shades of Grey"?
Yao Yao: No, I won't accept it. I'm just too shy.
How are you preparing for your role in the second season?
Yao Yao: [Can't prepare because] They are so secretive that I don't even know how old my character will be.
Chen: We have told her that she will need to be prepared psychologically, but she will definitely have to learn new rituals as well as trainings that a psychic will need to do because she has already overcome her fear of ghosts and fire in the first season and she's already pushed some limits herself.
Will the second season be more terrifying?
Chen: All possibilities are there. However, my focus remains on human relationships.
What have been the scariest experience any of you have had on set while filming the first season?
Chen: We filmed in a haunted house during the Chinese seventh month Ghost Festival. So the team was very worried but we had a consultant psychic who performed rites on set. As an intermediary, she informed the spirits that the people were just acting and they weren't really performing any real exorcism or communicating with the supernatural realm.
After filming, the consultant psychic will ask the spirits to leave [Yao Yao] alone so they do not follow her. We've been very respectful and as a result we have never had any real encounters.
Will any character from the first season return?
Chen: All possibilities are there including the major character that died. This is, after all, a series about the psychic world. So you can't say who can or cannot return. It's just we can't share the details at the moment.