TAIPEI – Production of the Taiwanese horror anthology miniseries “Ghost Doors” has started with the filming of its first story and pilot episode, “Run Over” helmed by Filipino award-winning director Vincent Soberano, who is also the creator and writer.
Based on a local ghost story, “Run Over” boasts of a stellar cast led by superstar Harry Lu, who recently starred in the Taiwanese drama film “Reborn” (2022) and starred in the Netflix series “2049” (2021). He has a large following in Taiwan and Vietnam with 1.4 million fans on Facebook and 644K on Instagram. Starring opposite him is Sarah Chang, a Hollywood Taiwanese-American actress best known for her roles in Sony Pictures’ “Accident Man 2” (2022) and Vertical Entertainment’s “Circle of Bones” (2021).
Another key role is played by Sean Ben, a 40-year veteran actor who has won several acting, writing and directing awards, and is the acting coach of several A-list actors in Taiwan such as Chris Wu (Wu Kang-ren). Also starring are Chen Jun-cheng, who is well-known for his role as the water ghost in the ongoing PX Mart commercial and is recognized for his role in the film “Classmates Minus” (2020), and Paulina Hu, an actress and model who frequently appears on Taiwan’s popular variety shows like “Kangsi Coming” (since 2004).
This is the first time for Soberano – and any Filipino director, for that matter – to direct a Chinese-language narrative film in Taiwan. He admits that he does not read nor write in Chinese, and barely speaks or understands the language. However, with the right story, a compelling visual concept, and surrounded by a creative team of bi-lingual film professionals, Soberano was able to pitch his script and get the project acquired and financed by a film financing group in Taipei.
Soberano has worked in various international film projects in multiple languages, including Jackie Chan’s Police Story, filmed in Beijing, China. However, this will be the first Chinese-language film that he has directed.
“I have to admit, this is the craziest, hardest project I’ve ever done,” Soberano says. “Overcoming the language barrier in a production like this is definitely a nightmare.”
He attributes his success in helming this project to a bi-lingual production team which includes his wife Sarah who plays a lead role in the film, co-director Hengyou Jen who is an NYU film student, and assistant director Vincent Teng who has directed several international commercials. The director of photography Luke Cameron is a Canadian filmmaker who lives and works in Taiwan and speaks fluent Mandarin as well.
The anthology series “Ghost Doors” consists of eight ghost stories based on popular Taiwanese and Filipino tales and urban legends, linked together by a common character – a disgraced priest and spiritual gatekeeper – played by Sean Ben. Each of the other episodes will be starring top-ranked Taiwanese and Filipino stars, helmed by an elite list of directors, and filmed primarily in Taiwan. Soberano will remain on the project as the series showrunner and lead writer.
Principal photography for “Run Over” starts on the last week of July 2022. The month of August is known as Ghost Month and the first day of the month is marked by opening the gate of a temple, symbolizing the gates of hell. Traditionally, it is believed that ghosts haunt the island of Taiwan for the entire seventh lunar month, when the mid-summer Ghost Festival is held.