Japanese garden built in Cameron Highlands for "The Garden of Evening Mists"

Director Tom Lin (second from left) with the cast of "The Garden of Evening Mists".

10 Jul – The big screen adaptation of Tan Twan Eng's award-winning novel "The Garden of Evening Mists" has already begun filming in the author's home country, Malaysia.

It was revealed during the press conference held at The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur that one of the main locations is Cameron Highlands, as is the original setting in the novel.

The production even goes the extra length by building an actual Japanese garden, complete with a Japanese house, on location.

Taiwanese filmmaker Tom Lin, who helms the movie, said that if the set remains intact after production wraps, then the landowners just might open it to the public so that everyone can enjoy visiting the beautiful garden.

When asked how faithful his adaptation was to the source material, he admitted that there were some changes made, joking that if they were to adapt the novel as it was, it'd be a 10-part miniseries instead of a 2-hour long movie.

Taiwanese filmmaker Tom Lin (L) and Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng discussing the movie adaptation of "The Garden of Evening Mists" with the media.

Author Tan Twan Eng did have a say during the earlier stages of the screenwriting process but decided not to meddle with the final script.

"[Film] is a completely different medium, you can't expect your book to be completely and faithfully adapted to a different medium," said Tan.

The movie, an Astro Shaw, HBO Asia and FINAS co-production, stars Malaysian actress Angelica Lee, also known as Lee Sinje, as lead character Teoh Yun Ling, who builds the Japanese garden in honour of her late sister, Teoh Yun Hong, played by Serene Lim ("Think Big Big").

Lee plays the character in the 1950s while the three decades older version in the 1980s is played by Taiwanese actress Sylvia Chang.

Japanese actor Hiroshi Abe stars as Yun Ling's love interest, the exiled gardener Nakamura Aritomo.

Scottish actor John Hannah ("The Mummy" trilogy) plays the owner of a tea plantation, Magnus Gemmell, whose son Frederik Gemmell is played by British actors David Oakes ("The White Queen", "Victoria") and Julian Sands ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") in the 1950s and the 1980s, respectively.

With filming currently underway, "The Garden of Evening Mists" is expected to finish filming by this year and is eyeing a 2019 theatrical release before showing on HBO Asia platforms.