Although Myolie Wu’s (胡杏兒) new series, Curse of the Royal Harem <萬凰之王>, may have averaged 31 points in its premiere broadcast and peaked at 34 points, the audience reactions were mixed.
Netizens criticized Myolie’s exaggerated acting and the concubine makeup as too strong. In addition, netizens noted that Jessica Hsuan’s (宣萱) character, Consort Tsuen, was in fact 18 years younger than Myolie’s empress in history. It was also questioned how could a concubine in the royal harem dare to openly express the hope that the empress would soon die?
Producer Chong Wai Kin (莊偉健) explained, “Myolie will not remain evil for the entire series; she will slowly turn into a good soul and her facial expressions will tone down. The audience needs to wait patiently. The heavy concubine makeup serves as a metaphor, Jessica’s makeup will become more concentrated as the series progresses.
“In the filming of Curse of the Royal Harem, we consulted Qing dynasty historical experts in mainland, China, to advise on the actors dialogue, deportment, etiquette, and dance. Prior to filming, the cast received special training.”
Jayne: The thick makeup in Curse of the Royal Harem is almost Chinese opera-like, where the thick eyes are drawn heavily to emphasize the characters’ personalities.