Sheren Tang Was in Talks to Star in “Story of Yanxi Palace”

Story of Yanxi Palace <延禧攻略> is currently the industry’s star pupil of palace dramas, and the palace dramas coming after it will struggle to catch up to its success. And while the cast of Yanxi Palace are reaping the successes, some actors have unfortunately passed on that opportunity.

According to a report, Sheren Tang (鄧萃雯) was originally in talks to star in Yanxi Palace as the Empress Dowager, mother of the Qianlong Emperor. It was yet another missed opportunity for Sheren to star in a popular palace drama; she had previously turned down to star in 2011’s Empresses of the Palace <甄嬛傳>, a decision she later regretted.

Portrayed by veteran actress Song Chunli (宋春麗), the last episode of Yanxi Palace centers on the Emperor Dowager pleading the Emperor to spare the life of the eunuch Yuan Chunwang (portrayed by Wang Maolei 王茂蕾). The Empress Dowager became a hot topic of discussion, as she is the inspiration behind the popular fictional character Zhen Huan, main star of Empresses of the Palace.

Sheren Tang as Imperial Consort Yu in “War and Beauty” (2004)

It has been said that Sheren’s initial reason for turning down Empresses of the Palace was because she did not want to get typecast; after starring in the critically-successful 2004 TVB drama War and Beauty <金枝慾孽> and in the 2011 Chinese drama New My Fair Princess <新還珠格格>, Sheren had proven herself to be a popular casting choice for Qing dynasty palace dramas.

Reportedly Sheren was considered for the role of Empress Dowager in Yanxi Palace, but talks ultimately fell through, leading netizens to leave behind comments saying that Sheren has “poor foresight.”

But poor foresight or not, Sheren’s iconic and legendary portrayal of the evil Imperial Consort Yu is still undefeated. Sheren has said before, “After doing 2004’s War and Beauty, it’s going to be hard to do another palace drama.”

Source: Eastweek

This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Wait, we’re talking about the role of Qianlong’s mom in the series? Um, why are people surprised Sheren would turn that role down? It’s not like that role is major (the Empress Dowager’s biggest scenes are mostly in the last couple episodes – other than that, she has some scenes here and there but not much significant)…besides, wouldn’t that role be way too old for her? Sorry, but I can’t imagine Sheren as the Empress Dowager in the series given its current cast — the Empress role yes, but the Empress Dowager? Makes no sense to me whatsoever….

    1. @llwy12
      I think Sheren would be too old to be the Empress and too young to be the Empress Dowager unless they changed the emperor. Whatever has happened has already happened and it is impossible to tell if a series will become a hit. Sheren has already has already had her fair share of luck and timing in starting out young as lead actress, working for ATV for big money and starring in a few TVB big hits in War and Beauty, Rosy Business and No Regrets.Can’t win them all. It takes good timing and we have had Benny, Kevin, Hawick hit it big in mainland with not necessary the best of acting skills. It’s Charmaine’s turn this time although she was already established enough. There are plenty of hope to hit the lottery for our current crap roster of TVB artists in the future….

      1. @jimmyszeto The thing is, Sheren already has a pretty established career in Mainland – she was part of the earlier batch of HK artists who went to Mainland to film series and has enjoyed a successful career there for many years, so to me it makes sense that she would be selective with her roles and turn down ones that don’t suit her. It’s not like she needs “exposure” or needs to establish herself, as she’s already well-known in Mainland (if I remember correctly, she even won an award in Mainland for I believe it was her Empress role in the revamped Huan Zhu Ge Ge several years ago). This whole article just sounds fishy – but then again, it’s from Eastweek so I’m not surprised….that publication has pretty much zero credibility….

      2. @llwy12
        Yes. Sheren is at the time of her life where she does not need unlimited fame or money. Can comfortably choose the script she prefers and take as many breaks as she wants. There are many mainland hits every year and plenty of scripts if an actress is in demand. Missing out on a few isn’t much news….

    2. @llwy12

      Exactly my thought. The Empress Dowager role was so minor that it would’ve been a waste of Sheren’s time and talent. It didn’t have any memorable scenes until the very last episode. I say Sheren had great foresight for not choosing that role and this drama.

      1. Actually, I disagree – Sheren isn’t the type of actress who would go the “any cameo or small role in a series just to get exposure” route – when she was younger maybe but definitely not now…for an actress of her caliber, who is still popular and sought after even now, there’s no need for her to take up a role like that to “boost her career.”

      2. @llwy12
        Maybe career boosting are the wrong words but any link to this series can put you a good few minutes in the spotlight. Celebrities have so many ups and downs in their careers, any positive extra recognition cannot hurt….

      3. @anon Yup, exactly….whoever wrote this article obviously doesn’t know Sheren. Anyone who is familiar with her as an actress knows her expectations are high and also that she is in a stage of her career now where meaningful roles matter more than “popular” or so-called “exposure” roles.

  2. Sheten does not need the popularity in her career right now, been there, done that. She is to me, a female version of Tony Leung in her talent as an actress. She has established herself as a bonefide actress and her populary is immense. Any role Sheren takes will have depth and meaning. She doesn’t need to prove herself.

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