On October 20, renowned Hong Kong comedian, actor, and filmmaker Stephen Chow 周星驰 launched his official Instagram account, with his first post stating that he is “seeking outstanding Web3 talent in the dark” (在漆黑中找寻鲜明出众的Web3人才).
The listed requirements are simple: the ideal individual(s) must be familiar with Web3, be smart and kind, and have project management experience. The job description is even simpler: “help me establish a creative future.” The post included a photo of Chow writing “seeking talent” on a whiteboard alongside words such as “community” and “content.” Interested applicants are instructed to post their Web3 creations or self-introductory videos on Instagram using the hashtag #CreateWithStephen. To date, the post has racked up over 130,000 likes, with more than 1,400 posts using the dedicated hashtag.
This is not the first time that a regional superstar on the level of Chow has engaged the metaverse. Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou is an active adopter of NFTs — his “Phanta Bears” NFT series amassed over $10 million and broke the record for the fastest-selling NFT in the world in terms of quantity and price.
Chou has also turned the demos of five of his popular songs into NFT-like digital collectibles on mainland China’s metaverse platform Bohe. Owners can use the purchased collectables as “keys” that give their avatars access to exclusive virtual spaces to listen to Chou’s songs. But Chou is not alone in this: other Mandopop stars such as Edison Chen have released their own NFT series as well.
Comparatively speaking, Stephen Chow’s Web3 initiative could be much more ambitious and expansive. Although details are scarce, Chow possesses tremendous cultural resources that can inspire Web3 creation and attract widespread talent. The lead actor in many wildly popular comedies that are now considered classics — among them A Chinese Odyssey (1995), Shaolin Soccer (2001), Kung Fu Hustle (2004) — Chow moved behind the camera in more recent years, directing popular Chinese-language titles such as Journey to the West (2013), The Mermaid (2016).
The community-centric content on Chow’s whiteboard indicates that his potential Web3 platform will heavily feature User Generated Content (UGC). Considering his status as a cultural icon in the Chinese-speaking world, Stephen Chow should have little difficulty attracting participation. Known for his imaginative visuals, it is highly likely that Chow’s Web3 project will offer immersive experiences that include world settings, characters, and scenarios from Chow’s famed works.
Additionally, Stephen Chow’s entry into Web3 marks a tighter embrace of the metaverse from the Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking film community. In October 2021, Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold an NFT by legendary Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai — which featured a never-before-seen 92-second scene from his 2000 film In the Mood for Love — for $550,000. It is not far-fetched to think a UGC-centered Web3 “Chow-verse” could take this to the next level by integrating the metaverse into Chow’s vast fan base and possibly even future movie production.