Charmaine Sheh Was One of Highest Paid Artistes in “Story of Yanxi Palace”

Charmaine Sheh (佘詩曼) is riding another popularity wave after Story of Yanxi Palace <延禧攻略> became a broadcast sensation. It was reported that the 43-year-old actress only accepted $2 million RMB for her role, but producer Yu Zheng (于正) quickly shot down the rumors and said Charmaine was one of the highest-paid actresses in the drama.

At a cosmetics event, Charmaine said that many people liked her villain role in Story of Yanxi Palace. Laughing over the salary rumors, Charmaine said. “The cast and crew had a great time working on this drama. Many new discussion topics emerged afterward; some are true and some are fake.” Asked if that meant that her reported salary was false, Charmaine said, “I’m going to quote from my character: ‘No matter how incredible something is, it’ll become true if someone believes it. So it’s unnecessary to explain too much. As long as I know the truth, that’s fine.”

Although Charmaine was discrete about her filming fee, producer Yu Zheng came to her defense and said that Charmaine actually received one of the biggest checks among the cast. Charmaine had filmed 74 days in the 70-episode Mainland drama.

Actress Wu Jingyan (吳謹言) was rumored to have been blacklisted by the Mainland broadcasting authority due to her arrogant behavior. But the claims proved to be false, as the publication has already issued an apology to Wu Jingyan. Accepting the apology, the 28-year-old actress thanked fans who were concerned about her.

Source: Oriental Daily

This article is written by Jayne for

Related Articles


    1. @hannah hard to miss. On TV every day 1 episode and 2 episodes on sat and sun. Nice pace with Malay subtitles. Charmaine so far has very little role. So I am waiting for her to have more role. This far her interpretation of turning evil is limited by her acting abilities. Everyone else running in circles around her so I am waiting for her to shine. She’s not very good. The entire story is ott but it is so ridiculous with a spunky never say die scheming for a good cause heroine that iy is so enjoyable. Ruyi is a difficult watch for me but yanxi is more mainstream and easier to understand.

    2. @hannah Watch it! You definitely wont regret about it! The drama’s quality is like watching Zhen Huan and BubuGingXin. Very addicting! At first I watched the drama was because I wanted to see how Charmaine’s acting in it but then after few episodes it’s the story/cinematography/ost and etc that captivate me until the last episode.

      Ps: This is the first time I cant decide which pair to root for…”The king and Ying Luo” or “Fu Heng with Ying Luo”…and also my first time watching a Chinese drama without eng subtitles…:P

  1. Finally, a nice hair length from Charmaine Sheh! So much better than that short bob haircut that I always see her in.

  2. Her popularity made her price tag worth it. But her acting is…debatable. I think she’s a good actress, but can’t hold much of a flame against her opponents in the drama.

    The show itself was decent. The last few story arcs felt a little rushed and unbelievable though. But overall, worthwhile to watch.

    1. @coralie honestly, her acting was what made the series watchable along with qinglan and nieyuan as well as the other older veteran actresses who played the ‘taihou’. You said she doesnt hold a flame against her opponents but even her opponents has praised her acting.

      1. @joant07012 nah, i stayed for qinlan & wu jinyan. they were the stars that really made the drama for me. i do admit i admire charmaine’s dedication in ensuring her co-stars understood her by ending her dialogues in mandarin. that was very considerate of her. i’m sure that scored her many points too. but as far as acting is concerned, she’s alright, but not as good as the ladies i mentioned.

      2. @coralie Well, considering qinglan and jinyan’s roles were perfect as in their character were well made but acting wise, they both haven’t wow me though qinglan acting is definitely better than the latter. Though I’m surprised that you actually thought jinyan acting is much better than charmaine when I had to skip most of jinyan parts because her facial expressions is really awkward and weird sometimes.

      3. @joant07012 jinyan’s face is eery in general. Ive mentioned this before in one of my reviews of the show. It really threw me off at first. And frankly if her storyline and acting wasn’t as engaging, I would’ve dropped the drama a long time ago. Charm’s parts weren’t good enough for me to stick around (though to be fair, no star is good enough for me to stick around a sinking ship.) Over time I got used to jinyan’s face and found her acting convincing although some of her transitions are a little jarring, but that had more to do with the way her character was written. She switch faces 180 so quickly that I think is a little too perfect. But besides that, yes, I do think her acting is better than Charm’s. It’s not tht difficult to do Charm’s role well, let’s put it that way. With exception to the episode which she kinda went nuts, she was mostly just a plotting calm woman. Not that difficult to do.

      4. @coralie
        Wu Jinyan has been brilliant. I had my doubts after watching the first scene and realised that this thin actress was going to lead such a long series.However, her expressions have been fun and she is definitely the main reason to keep on watching since she make the quick plot tick. We must not ignore though that the tougher roles that require more acting come from the tragic characters such as Charmaine and other concubines. Although her scenes have been limited to a few, she has had quite a few character transformations after the family tragedy and then battling for the Emperor. In fact I think her character is the toughest and Wu Jingyan’s is the easiest. Jingyan is definitely the superstar of the show along with script writer who masterminded this fast paced action packed drama. If other mainland productions start copying this style of drama making then we will have plenty to watch in the future….

      5. @jimmyszeto I’m going to ignore your comments about charm at this point if you really believe her role is tougher than jinyan’s. Not trying to be rude, but the two cannot be compared on the same level. And if you seriously believe that, then there is no point in further discussion. We just don’t see eye to eye on the subject.

        And yes, Yu Mama needs to keep the script writer and the director to ensure his future project succeed. This drama was surprisingly delicious and not dog-bloodedly slow and filled with nonsensical fillers.

      6. @coralie I think any actress with energetic look will be shine in Jinyan’s role as that role suits perfectly for young actress with the look like her.

      7. @vyvy nope don’t agree. Only because my initial impression of Wu jinyan wasn’t ‘energetic,’ but skinny, frail & weird.

        She later convinced me that under her skinny bones lies an almost invincible sheer willpower which juxtaposes against her weak frame.

        It’s very deceiving, yet interestingly captivating because she manages to exceed expectations, very much like her character.

      8. @jimmyszeto I agreed with you, Charmaine’s role requires the actress to act evil with a calm nice face which not everyone can do it. Some actresses can only act evil if they can show the evilness on their faces, and if they are required to show a calm nice face, then they cannot act evil at all.

  3. I’m happy cause all signs suggests that she will never act in a TVB series again.

  4. Honestly even if she wasn’t highly paid, the recognition and WOM that comes after is worth it.

    The popularity of this drama is no joke, everywhere i go i hear people talking about it (Singapore), and people who don’t usually watch chinese dramas are watching it.

    I’m surprised, thought it was only popular in HK and China, lol.

      1. @jimmyszeto

        I think Charmaine is better than any actress at TVB right now. With her recent signing with Louis Koo’s management company, she will be exploring opportunities mostly in Mainland dramas and movies. She has no time for TVB UNLESS it’s a joint-venture project with China.

        Also, I disagree with @funnlim and @coralie, If her acting isn’t ‘there’, then nobody can act at TVB. I agree that there’s room for improvement and that her acting isn’t on par with some leading mainland actresses, but again, most actors in China went to acting school before joining the industry. She was a flight attendant before joining TVB. At TVB, to me, it isn’t even debatable that she isn’t the best actress even if you included ex-TVB actresses like Kate Tsui, Tavia Yeung, Linda Chung, etc.

        We’ve had these discussions before in other threads. Let’s agree to disagree.

      2. @jimmyszeto the problem with Charmaine and Raymond is that neither are willing to break their current ‘chok’ mode. They act as much as they need to and then withdraw. The soul is not there anymore.

        Compared to up and coming actresses like Mandy and Ali, I would give them a run for my money if only because they’re not scared of expressing. Even to the point of being comical, they will still put in that effort. All of the actresses in SOY has that passion, but I can only say Charmaine is not at their level.

      3. @coralie
        Totally disagree with your comments. There are more methods to show passion and achieve onscreen presence by simply trying to go all out and overact. Overacting to point of comical is not considered to be good acting. There are plenty of character Charmaine has played where she did not hold back because of the requirements of the character. Return of the Cuckoo, Witness of the Prosecution 2, Country Spirit, Maidens Vow, You’re hired and Line Walker. In other series such as War and Beauty. Maiden’s Vow( Earlier characters), Dance of Passion and Story of Yanxi, Charmaine has demonstrated more subtle methods in her acting proving that she has a broad set of skills. You bring in Mandy who has shown nothing whatsoever in the subtle range. The only character Mandy has done well are loud argumentative characters and she has not shown improvement for years. Ali has potential but she is still years away from nearing Charmaine’s level. Mandy’s name shouldn’t ever be named in the same bracket as Charmaine’s. Raymond is only slightly better than Ron so he’s irrelevant to this discussion…

      4. @jimmyszeto you obviously haven’t seen Mandy in threesome. She was a restrained lawyer and had to act out three completely different characters all the while succeeding at it and gotten numerous praise. She portrayed a meek geek, a rash and violent vigilante and then a clear-headed professional lawyer. If you want variety, she’s got it. She wasn’t just loud and rude in there. More importantly she excelled. I haven’t seen one role in which she’s flopped. I can’t say the same for Charmaine.

        Also the only 3 dramas I’ve seen of Charmaine that I thought she had soul was ROC, Country Spirit & LW. The rest were not exceptional. Three good portrayal out of many in her career is not what I consider great. You don’t have to go off what I say. Read the comments here. Majority of the comments state she’s only acting adequately in SOY, but not great. You’ve got to stop letting past good acting confuse you with her current situation. Her and Raymond is stuck. Period.

      5. @coralie
        You are wrong. I have seen ‘Threesome’ so you don’t have to summarize the characters she portrayed to me. Mandy was OTT acting for 2 of the characters that the acting was suitable for a pantomime. It was only acceptable since it was a a comedy. Mandy hasn’t flopped yet but 95% of her roles have been forgettable. Charmaine has had a long list of successes at TVB. Its just that she has focused more on the mainland market. ‘3 successful series in a career’ is a baseless comment and entirely your opinion so summarising her career as unsuccessful is totally misleading….

      6. @jimmyszeto you think tavia’s acting is worse than Charmaine? Not sure what is it about Charmaine but I have never been hang up on her characters :/ most of her series, I watched it for the plot, or other actor rather than I watch it because she’s in it?

      7. @jimmyszeto Charmaine had been leading dramas from very early on. She was given pleeeenty of exposure to the audience to ensure her popularity and relevance. Mandy had only started leading not long ago and her experience can’t be compared to Charmaine. However, in the few dramas in which Mandy co-lead, lead or even played a supporting character, she shined. I can give you three examples right off the bat. The one where she was the jerk sis-in-law, the one where she and Him Law were a pair (she was a painter) and Threesome. The only thing missing for her is a substantial character and drama to solidify her standing.

        Anyways I don’t believe I will change your opinions about Charmaine and that’s totally cool. That’s what fans do. I am a fan too, because I’m still holding onto hope that she will find that passion again. But she’s lost her touch and really isn’t that good anymore, regardless of whether you believe the comments in here. To that end, I will just say we agree to disagree.

      8. @coralie
        Not acting in TVB does not mean Charmaine has lost her passion. It is just that she is in high demand to starr in movies and mainland productions…

      9. @jimmyszeto omgosh haha. Ok you believe in what you wanna. In case you haven’t noticed, she’s not in TVB anymore and we’re talking about her recent drama SOY in which she still wasn’t that good. But I’m not going to waste time going back & forth on this. I chime with those who agreed with me. Believe what you wanna.

      10. @coralie
        I agree. No need to go back and forth. We can do a couple of polls though for fun purposes and end the discussion. 1.Has Charmaine had a successful acting career?
        2. Was Mandy’s performance in ‘Threesome’ awesome or over the top acting suitable for a pantomime?

      11. @coralie Agree, neither of them seem inspired anymore. I felt the same way about Tavia (and now, Ruco) towards the end of her TVB days. They’ll give a great performance or two and then suddenly plateau, or regress, once their popularity is solidified. It’s unfortunate, but hey… why seek continuous improvement when you can put forth minimum effort and still rack in the cash/pull in the ratings?

        *note sarcasm*

      12. @sugarcane yes! That’s exactly what I wanted to express as well. These actors and actresses all seem to regress near the end of their careers at TVB. I don’t blame them, if you can see their improvements outside of TVB. But none of them really seemed to show any difference =\. I think they’re all burned out but doing it still because they’re making money by putting out passive effort.

      13. @coralie Yup, that’s my thought too. Maybe because after watching Ada Choi’s performance in Zhen Huan especially in ep72, I kept thinking if it was Ada Choi in Yanxi, her teary performance would have kill it. For me Charmaine didn’t go all out in Yanxi when she was supposed to and that is why I think she is not there yet.

  5. Charmaine’s performance in the Story of Yanxi Palace is actually pretty good, better than her past drama shows with TVB to say the least.

    Yes her air time in the beginning is very minimal, but keep watching as she is there to the very end of episode 70 which is quite impressive. The director must have really thought it through to want to cast Charmaine for her particular role in the drama series.

    I mean I thought Charmaine was mediocre in the enormously successful TVB ” War and Beauty” 金枝慾孽 which had an all star cast: Sheren Tang, Gigi Lai, Charmaine Sheh, Maggie Cheung, Moses Chan, Bowie Lam, Jade Leung, Rebecca Chan.

    Having said that though – the plot, casting and costumes for Story of Yanxi Palace is very impressive. Each episode you watch makes you want to continue to watch the next one.
    I’ve already finished all 70 episodes in just over 2 weeks, watching about 4-5 episodes a day! hahahaha! I wish I can talk to someone about the last episode, but I wont spoilt it for everyone. Just keep watching!!

    With regards to Charmaine’s performance of her character, she cannot portray the evil persona as Sheren Tang did in War & Beauty, Charmaine just doesnt have it in her and she already admitted in an interview that is her first time acting as a villain. There is still room for improvement for her, but she with this drama show, its going to give her alot more opportunities.

    1. @shimmerstars I think Charmaine’s role in SOY and Sheren’s in WOB is totally different and cannot be compared. Sheren’s role was a fully evil inside out almost until toward the end where we found out why she was like that and when she started to show the other side of her. Everyone in the palace was scared of her, knowing that she was evil (except the emperor). The evilness was shown on her face, and she was sometimes a hothead.
      Charmaine’s in SOY is different. She change from being innocent to a manipulated evil. However, her evilness was not showed until the end of the series. On the other hand, only a few people in the palace knew she was evil. She maintained to be nice and calm on the outside and hid her evilness so well.
      Anyway, I don’t think Charmaine can act Sheren’s role since she does not have the tough look like Sheren, and Sheren cannot act Chaimaine’s role in this series because she does not have the soft look like Charmaine.

  6. Indeed, a breakthrough for Charmaine since she didn’t hit it big in China yet. I thought she was adequate; however, the drama did well. Hence, everyone benefits. I thought I saw reports, when the drama was in production, of her taking a pay cut. No surprises here since a few HK artists are in demand.

  7. Anyone still in doubt whether to watch or not to watch Story of Yanxi Palace? Well, i highly recommend this series, which to me is a mainland series that you should not miss…at least for this year. I’m not really a fan of mainland series to begin with…having watched only four mainland series in more than a decade, but this series may inspire me to watch more mainland palace dramas in future.

    Initially i watched the Cantonese version until episode 12. But bcos Yanxi is very captivating…i couldn’t wait for the slow release of the Cantonese version, so i switched to watch the Mandarin version and finished the whole 70 episodes drama in just over 3 weeks. I personally feel that Yanxi is more enjoyable than Zhen Huan because of the cute and playful scenes, which balances the intense/sorrow and light/sweet moments in the series.

    As for Charmaine’s overall performance in Yanxi, i would say it’s pretty good but not outstanding…there is still room for improvement. Her role only becomes more prominent towards the last 20 episodes of the drama. Anyway, I feel that Charmaine didn’t go all out for her scenes in the last few episodes of this drama…in which i think ex-TVB fadan, Tavia could have done better than her.

    Nevertheless, this is still a very good and worth-watching drama overall, especially for those who like to watch palace dramas.

  8. Well, I finished the series and I can say that Charmaine did an excellent job for her role.

Comments are closed.