At the 2012 TVB Sales Presentation introducing upcoming series for the next year, a promotional clip of War and Beauty 2 <金枝慾孽 2> was presented to advertisers. The original War and Beauty gave rise to the recent popular trend of series featuring scheming palace ladies. The filming of the sequel has been confirmed to take place next year. The chances of War and Beauty 2 featuring its original cast were slim since Gigi Lai retired from the entertainment industry, Bowie Lam (林保怡) and Charmaine Sheh (佘诗曼) left TVB, and Maggie Cheung (張可頤) will be featured in several heavyweight dramas next year. In the Sales Presentation clip, only Sheren Tang (鄧萃雯), Ada Choi (蔡少芬), Astrid Chan ( 陳芷菁), and Moses Chan (陈豪) were the four main characters featured.
While the plot of War and Beauty 2 has been kept a secret, it was observed that the series will be a marked departure from the concubine rivalry featured in Beyond the Realm of a Conscience <宮心計> and Curse of the Royal Harem <萬凰之王>. Producer Jonathan Chik (戚其義) assembled his “golden team” with bold and unconventional results. Moses Chan was expected to replace Bowie Lam’s position as the imperial physician.
Prior to the unveiling of the War and Beauty 2 promotional clip, Moses and Empress, Astrid Chan’s introductory speech gave clues to the series’ plot. Moses said, “Regardless of the willow trees being so green above the palace’s walls, only to be bound by destined love; life and death gather as a scene in a dream…. The palace gives rise to a story to cure the boredom in the world.” Astrid Chan continued, “In the imperial palace, how is it possible to have so many concubine rivalries? For people with expectations of affectionate love and care, these feelings never originated from our masters.” The introductory dialogue reflected the same cautionary tone as found in the prologue of Dream of the Red Mansions < 紅樓夢>.
In the ensuing scenes of the promotional clip, the palace ladies’ lonely and cold hearts were observed, along with the imperial physician’s wishful desire. The torturous love had nowhere to be gathered. The most daring concept was featured in the last scene, in which “Lady Yu Fei” Sheren Tang and her personal maid of Ada Choi, wore their undergarments and laid upon the same bed. As they stared into each other’s eyes, they revealed a complex web of emotions. Finally, Sheren and Ada kissed deeply, which stirred a vocal reaction from the audience.
In recent years, film and television productions featuring same-sex love were few in number. Although War and Beauty 2 has not started official filming yet, the scenes featuring Sheren Tang and Ada Choi’s intimate love was too shocking!
Excerpt from Nanfang Daily
Jayne: The concept behind War and Beauty 2 may be more realistic than the over-the-top power struggles between concubines found in recent series. Fighting for the emperor’s affections may indeed be an impossible and lost dream. For those concubines craving for love, it may be found easier among their everyday companions such as personal maids.
Personal maids of wealthy households in ancient times met all the needs of their masters, whether they included physical cleaning chores, personal companionship or possibly sexual duties. In Dream of the Red Mansions (which drew upon the author’s own life in a wealthy, influential family in the Ming dynasty), such intimate master and maid relationships were depicted. Although the maid may be married to another man outside the household, it was often expected that the maid would no longer be a virgin.