The Republican-era romantic drama Cruel Romance (锦绣缘华丽冒险), starring Huang Xiaoming and Chen Qiao’en, has finally gotten an air date. The series will be broadcast on Hunan TV starting March 3, after The Legend of Fragrance finishes its run.
Based on the novel The Fate of Jinxiu (锦绣缘), Cruel Romance has been highly anticipated by fans of Huang Xiaoming and Chen Qiao’en, who had a brief collaboration in the movie Breaking the Waves (激浪青春). The drama is helmed by Taiwanese director Lin Helong, who is mostly known for Taiwanese idol dramas like Devil Beside You, Wish to See You Again, and Love or Bread.
Cruel Romance recently released its opening theme song, simply titled “Fate” (缘), which is sung by Huang Xiaoming. I usually like his songs because he tends to get good songwriters, but he’s definitely straining his voice in this one. *sigh* The lyrics were penned by the drama’s producers, Huan Yue and Huang Bin (who is also Xiaoming’s manager).
Cruel Romance does bear some similarities to another Republican-era drama that aired earlier this year, Tang Yan’s Lady & Liar (千金女贼). Both take place in 1930s Shanghai, both of the male leads are businessmen with ties to the mafia and who are called “Er Ye” by their underlings, and both feature love stories about the male lead falling in love with a naive and kind-hearted young lady, who doesn’t take to his advances until he proves himself worthy, after which there is some sort of misunderstanding that causes her to detest him. Lady & Liar even had a minor character with the same name as Cruel Romance‘s female lead.
As a result, Cruel Romance may receive some backlash from netizens going, “Hey, haven’t we seen this story before?” And yes, judging from the newest trailer, which is embedded below, a lot of the scenes do look to be of a similar flavor, except with even more unconvincing slapping scenes. Nevertheless, since it doesn’t look like I’ll get to stalk Huang Xiaoming when he films You Are My Sunshine in San Francisco, I’ll settle for watching him on my computer screen.
Lots and lots and lots (did I mention lots?) of screencaps below. I’ve tried to pick ones that we haven’t posted before. There are loads more at the official Weibo of Cruel Romance, but the owner of that page recently started putting an annoying banner over all the screencaps, thus preventing photo thieves like me from easily saving and sharing photos. Meh.
Xiaoming and Qiao’en do a lot of dancing in this drama. It looks painful.
Qiao’en also gets to grope her costar’s chest a lot. In an interview, Xiaoming said that this stemmed from a real-life incident when Qiao’en accidentally touched his chest and commented on how big his chest was. Everyone thought this was a great comedic moment, so they worked it into the drama. Lucky girl.
Now for some Huang Xiaoming solo shots, including obligatory shirtless photo. (Does it count as a shirtless photo if he’s halfway through putting his clothes on?)
Qiao’en plays two roles: Rong Jinxiu, the female lead and love interest of Zuo Zhen (Huang Xiaoming), and Yoko, a Japanese girl and the love interest of the villain (Qi Ji, who predictably plays a baddie Japanese businessman).
Kimi Qiao plays the second male lead Xiang Yingdong, on whom Rong Jinxiu has a crush. Unfortunately, he has a crush on Yin Mingzhu (Lv Jiarong), who is romantically involved with Yingdong’s older brother, Xiang Hanchuan (Gardner Tse). I can’t really say I’m a big fan of how Kimi is styled here, because he’s normally waaaay more good-looking, but I’m sure his charm will remain intact.
Rounding up the secondary cast, we have model/actress Yoyiki Una, also known as Ye Zixuan, as Xiao Lan, Jinxiu’s close friend. She previously had a bit part in Palace 3: The Lost Daughter, in which she played Xiao Cui. She’s signed under Asian Palm Film, one of the production companies behind Cruel Romance, so I guess they’re trying to give her more exposure.
And also the boyishly adorkable Yang Le, whom you may remember as Lu Yuanfeng from Tang Yan and Wallace Chung’s My Sunshine. He plays Shi Hao, one of Zuo Zhen’s closest and most loyal followers. I know he still looks like he’s in high school, but I guess that means his adversaries might underestimate him? Hehe.