Sunday, July 14, 2013

Official Character Stills Released for The Virtuous Empress of Han

Hua Ce, the media production company known to make folklore/fantasy/wuxia and popularized historical dramas is currently in the mist of shooting their big project chronicling the life of the Han Dynasty Empress Wei Zifu. Wang Luodan is cast as the titular role and Raymond Lam plays the ambitiously ruthless Emperor Han Wudi (personal name Liu Che). If you don't have a clue about Wei Zifu, you may have heard of her famous family members. One of the most famous Chinese generals, Wei Qing, was her younger half-brother. The young and flamboyant General Huo Qubing was her nephew. The historical character that Chen Xiao plays in Yu Zheng's upcoming drama Yun Zhong Ge, Liu Bingyi or Emperor Han Xuandi, was her great-grandson. But her most famous connection is perhaps her atrociously despot of a husband who went berserk in old age over a voodoo doll and started a series of witchcraft persecutions that resulted in the death of  roughly 10,000 people. This infamous event was known as 巫术之祸 Witchcraft Catastrophe in Chinese history. Don't get the wrong impression that Liu Che was an imbecile. He certainly was not! He was just...shall I say a little "paranoid." I guess the fact Liu Che is portrayed by Raymond will help to erase some personal ill feelings I have for the guy. LOL.

Wei Zifu is perhaps one of my favorite Chinese empresses I like to read about. Her rise in the royal harem from lowly dancing girl to empress of the Han Empire also gave her family members the political opportunity to climb up the social ladder. I like her not because she was politically influential and virtuous like the Empress Zhangsun of the Tang Dynasty, but for her low-key image. She actually never gave me the impression of being a virtuous empress, so I found the title of this drama series to be personally weird. I applaud her for not abusing her position and for being able to retain her empress position for three decades without getting deposed. Emperor Han Wudi lived a very long life and had plenty of women around him. The poor girl got a lot of competition. Fortunately, during her time as empress, the royal harem ran rather smoothly.

Anyway, check out the official stills below for the drama. The hairpieces are nice and the costumes look rather decent. Unfortunately, Wei Zifu's hairstyle look rather unflattering on Wang Luodan.

Raymond Lam as Liu Che (Emperor Han Wudi)
Niki Chow as Princess Pingyang (Liu Che's older sister and Wei Zifu's master)
Chen Shali as Empress Dowager Dou (Liu Che's grandmother)
Shen Tai as General Wei Qing
Xu Zhengyi as the royal guard,  Duan Hong
Li Xincong as Shen Jia (Wei Qing's first wife)
Zheng Miao as Chen A'jiao (Liu Che's first empress, later deposed for witchcraft)
Grand Princess Guantao (Liu Che's aunt and Chen A'jiao's mother)
Yu Xiaofan as Empress Wang (Liu Che's mother)

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