Who is Shanghai Devil
In 1897, Ugo Pastore, son of Enea, an executive of the Rome-based company Caput Mundi that moved its business in the Far East, follows his father to Shanghai, to help him with his commercial affairs.Young and idealist, Ugo can’t stand the inequalities he’s witnessing in that place, a crossroads of legal, but also shady, business. He will soon choose to don again the silver mask of Volto Nascosto, becoming the mysterious hero that the British will call Shanghai Devil!
Young Chinese actor, a friend of Ugo’s. On stage, he’s a fearless hero who’s able to perform spectacular acrobatic feats. In life, Ha is a mild and very shy young man, known as a person who avoid risks. Or so it seems... but every actor knows that if you play a character long enough, you can find yourself identified with him.
An ill-fated Chinese girl, sold to a Shanghai brothel by her own family. Ugo falls in love with her, and his intervention will avoid Meifong the same dramatic fate of Madame Butterfly. In her, Ugo will find an unexpected and unhoped for tenderness in those war times; while the story develops and their lives become separated, this meeting will also take the value of a nearly impossible utopia.
A friendly adventurer from Milan, Evaristo, (better known as Risto), will develop a solid friendship with Ugo, going side by side with him during his adventures. Risto isn’t the classic comic sidekick, but presents many shady aspects. Away from home for several years, as it happens to many Italian expatriates Risto is now more affectionated to the cooking tradition and his hometown idiom than when he was in Italy. His behaviour is far from crystal-clear, marked by an absolute unpredictability.
Head of the boxer rebels, Chuang Lai is a Shaolin monk. Endowed with a sharp ethical intransigence, he’s not a blood-thirsty character, although he’s a rebel to the core: a great commander and an unequalled fighter, he’s always fighting in the front line, using his bare hands, traditional weapons but also firearms taken from the Western invaders. To mark the difference with the archetypical Asiatic villain, Fu Manchu, we took our inspiration from the popular Chinese actor Jet Li, who also featured in the wonderful movie saga "Once Upon a Time in China".
Lady Jane Stanton
A charming British spy. She’s a pre-eminently shady character, otherwise she wouldn’t be a spy. Clearly inspired by some Marlene Dietrich characters as well as by Greta Garbo’s Mata Hari. But she also has her own personality, very freely taken from some real adventurous, nonconformist and daring women from the past, deeply involved in the siege to the foreign Legation quarter in Peking, such as the legendary Polly Condit Smith, portraited in some historic photos next to some cannons, wearing a sporty divided skirt. Our Lady Jane is prone to other eccesses, shooting, singing, seducing, scheming and showing an enviable leading ability.