The demand for boys’ love (BL) dramas seem unstoppable, with Word of Honor <山河令> achieving enormous success in China and international markets. Despite multiple BL dramas already waiting to air in 2021 and the strict censorship checks by Chinese authorities due to the sensitive same-gender love themes, another novel by famed author Priest, Guardians of the Lands <山河表裡> is seeing a drama adaptation.
Where fan anticipation for Immortality <皓衣行>, Chasing the Light <左肩有你> and A League of Nobleman <張公案> are high with savvy studios drumming up publicity online prior to premier, the production crew of Guardians of the Lands seemed slow to ride on the hype, and had even earlier officially instructed fans to avoid visits to the set since filming started in April.
Incongruous Imaging: Can Fans Swallow It?
With leaked filming photos, fans had a mixed response to the costumes for Guardians of the Lands. Most netizens felt that the styling and costumes of its leads 25-year-old Chen Xingxu (陳星旭) and 24-year-old Luke Chen Muchi (陈牧驰) were too incongruous with their impression of the two masculine-looking actors.
Where other BL dramas usually draped their male leads in long, graceful robes, fantasy drama Guardians of the Lands clad Chen Muchi and Chen Xingxu in knee-length tunics revealing their bare legs.
Casting a Relative Unknown Face
Chen Xingxu, the more famous of the two lead actors, had impressed with his performance in 2019’s Goodbye My Princess <東宮>, though he failed to deliver any breakout roles following it. Where his biggest charm had been his macho aura due to his thick brows and piercing gaze, unfortunately very little of that remain in his styling for Guardians of the Lands. To add on, fans might find it hard to reconcile with this look, given that they were used to imagining the star as a fearsome warlord.
Adding to netizens’ hesitant response, the production team of Guardians of the Lands took a risk by casting Chen Muchi, a relatively unfamiliar face to audiences.
This article is written by JoyceK for JayneStars.com.