“Succession War” Stars Ruco Chan and Shaun Tam

By on June 24, 2018 in NEWS

“Succession War” Stars Ruco Chan and Shaun Tam

New TVB drama, Succession War <天命>, stars Ruco Chan (陳展鵬), Shaun Tam (譚俊彥), Selena Lee (李施嬅), and Natalie Tong (唐詩詠). Airing on June 25, the series revolves around the final 28 days of the notorious official, Niohuru Heshen’s life. The storyline will depict the palace scheming between Heshen (Ruco Chan) and Jiaqing Emperor (Shaun Tam).

Ruco recently attended a promotional event for the series. To prepare for his role and familiarize himself with the historical figure of Heshen, Ruco spent a lot of time reading historical books. He expressed, “The producer actually gave me a lot of books to read. There is also a lot of information on the Internet. There are both official and unofficial historical readings. When we started filming, we already read a lot about it.”

Heshen has remained a central character in popular culture and is often depicted as a villain in various productions. Mainland Chinese actor, Wang Gang (王剛), has portrayed Heshen numerous times and imparts a comical air to the character. When asked whether Ruco was afraid of being compared, he responded, “A lot of people associate Heshen with comedy, where the character would twist and justify unreasonable things into logic. Actually, within the palace, Heshen is a powerful figure who is under one person, but above millions of others. How much pressure do you think he feels? How did the other officials treat him? This drama is not a comedy, so I think it will show the audience another side of Heshen.”

Ruco also pointed out that Heshen in the drama is more closely aligned with historical facts. “In addition to fighting with words, Heshen actually does know martial arts. I don’t think many people know that Heshen is a skilled martial artist, so I hope the drama will pass along these facts. Not only is he skilled in literary composition and wushu, he is also fluent in several languages. A lot of people don’t realize why the real Heshen is such an intriguing character. I hope to be able to bring out these characteristics.”

“Succession War” Trailer

Source: HK01

This article is written by Huynh for JayneStars.com.

4 comments to “Succession War” Stars Ruco Chan and Shaun Tam

  1. funnlim says:

    No, Heshen was not like in the drama. What he could do, maybe but who he was? Maybe he is the Najib of his time. He was terribly corrupted. Unless he was terribly maligned, and he was a nice guy who kept the emperor’s money in his own house filled with kingly ornaments meant for king. I want Ruco to be the anti hero. Ep 1 seems to suggest everyone thinks that Heshen is corrupt, like the emperor who however indulged his favourite “son”. Like he may be corrupt but loyal. Like Wai Siu Bo? But real HeShen was more than corrupt. I believe he was a disruptive figure, manipulative and for a man to forget who he was because he was treated 2nd to none, not even the emperor’s son, surely he can’t be humble or nice. He only be nice to 1. I want Ruco’s heshen to be bad, evil, have some bloody personality. But ep 1 is so I don’t know, I see winter and I was like TVB still has some furs they need to use. Everytime Qing, must be winter.

    Shaun Tam is impressive as in his deep voice. he gives an impression he is not 50 pounds underweight and he looks like he has gravitas to be an emperor. Acting was ok, looking angry. I think he has a much better voice than his dad.

    Pitching these 2 guys together, of course Jiaqing was jealous. Which son won’t be of a man who robbed his father of his affection? But he shen was not just a man interested in affection. I disagree with Ruco in his interpretation. I was in Beijing and went to his “mini palace” and it was disgusting to see it. It felt so pompously exactly like the forbidden palace and you can feel the ambition of the man who stayed there. At some point of the series I thought maybe TVB mistaken Prince Gong as He Shen.

    I hope ep 2 will be better but ep 1.. what a night our He shen had eh? One night and he went to the palace multiple times, assassination multiple times, embraced by 2 women, etc etc etc. Busy busy man.

    Ps interesting read

    https://www.bustle.com/articles/195013-7-outrageously-corrupt-politicians-from-history

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  2. potatochip says:

    These first 5 episodes were certainly not lacking in drama. It’s not draggy, but it is quite heavy. The acting has been engaging and the storyline complex.

    The scenery is beautiful and the production looks grand. The snow effect is consistent with timeline continuity, and although it adds a lovely moodiness, it is sometimes distracting. I am surprised that they actually have enough extras to make the imperial court look more than just a handful of officials. They need more eunuchs, maids and guards though.

    Ruco’s Heshen is arrogant and intelligently confident (actually over-confident). The dialogue repeats that he is greedy, but I wish that there were more scenes showing his greed. On Wikipedia, his list of riches is jaw-dropping and should be reflected in the show. I like his friendship chemistry with the Qianlong Emperor. I can feel why the emperor gravitates towards him because Heshen is charismatic, intuitive and loyal to him.

    Going forward, I hope there will be more for Ruco to do than smirking triumphantly. Although, the outcome was already known, the coffin scene was tense and Ruco and KK were great. Ruco literally only had his eyes to express his pain. More drama like that, please. TVB admits it is going to take some creative license when it had Jiaqing say, “I am going to make sure history knows Heshen is the most terrible person”. So Heshen’s actions are going to be because he was pushed to fight back. Well, fine, at least have him go down as ruthless, conniving badass.

    Shaun Tam is fresh and has been excellent. He’s outwardly righteous and expresses concern for his people, but is also jealous and vengeful. He has had the opportunity to show a range of emotions and has been very effective (except some of his anger expressions are cartoonish). He rightfully hates Heshen.

    KK’s emperor is kind to a fault. He knew that Heshen was corrupt but ignored it. I understand he forgives his son because he wants him stronger but wouldn’t he worry that Jiaqing may show the same hatred to any who question him in the future?

    Joel Chan always brightens the screen. He and Ruco are always great together whether as friends or adversaries. I don’t know how his character will turn out but I look forward to finding out.

    The drama excels at grey characters and besides Heshen’s son, there are no truly “good” people. I guess that is reflective of real life. It may be confusing to some viewers because you don’t know who to root for, but I like being able to cheer for both sides.

    Although, I am typically a romantic sap, I am glad romance is not a focus. Typically, Ruco’s characters always love first or love more. He’s great at expressing that tortured, selfless love, but I was getting tired of watching him be a love-sick puppy. This time, he has 4+ women. With my luck, the writers will make him mopey in love 4 times.

    Elaine, Selena, and Natalie play their roles well enough but they don’t have much to work with yet. Actually, in this drama, it should be that way and the focus should remain on the male characters.

    Anyways, I am cautiously optimistic for this drama.

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  3. potatochip says:

    Episode 6 is still setting the pieces in place. The women are getting more to do. Angelina’s character is plotting something. That White Lotus? (I am terrible at translating) group is the most conspicuous secret society ever.

    The friendship between Selena and Elaine is intriguing. It’s strange how Selena trusts her so much despite Elaine being the wife of her husband’s worst enemy and former romantic link.

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  4. potatochip says:

    I live in the US and this is actually the first series that I have had a chance to watch in “real time” instead of binge watching. Usually, I would wait till the end to comment, but because I am inpatient with this “real time” watching, forgive me for being the weirdo rambling to herself over here.

    I found the “let’s unnerve the king with spooky superstition” scenes a little silly. Fortunately, those were over soon, and things became much more exciting from Episodes 12-15. The brotherhood relationship between Heshen and Helin gave the character more depth and intensified the drama. The scene where he tentatively unveiled Helin’s tortured fingernails was captivating. Ruco’s eyes were flaming red as he suppressed his rage. I felt his guilt and despair in trying to save his brother, ultimately, suffering crushing defeat.

    I like that we are seeing some of Heshen’s terrible deeds with how he let commoners die. Ruthlessly practical, the ends justifies the means. He was going to blow up Joel along with Jiaqing, which was poorly conceived because of his desperation. Each episode is suppose to represent a day, but so much happens, the timeline doesn’t allow the heavy drama to settle and take full impact. There are very few light scenes. I enjoyed the gentle teasing scenes between him and his butler. I know TVB is trying to make the audience sympathetic to him by giving him many loyal relationships (his butler, Elaine, and Natalie), but I think this dimension is realistic. Someone like Heshen can’t get to such a position of power without remarkable social/emotional intelligence.

    I think Shaun Tam has a lot of potential. He is convincing as the calculating but paranoid emperor. But his character is so perpetually angry that he reminds me of the red-faced angry emoji with his eyebrows locked in a V shape. Hopefully, his character relaxes a bit as he becomes more triumphant.

    In general, I like Natalie Tong in other dramas. She has a lot of room to improve in her acting, but she does have a sweet charisma. Unfortunately, it is hard to believe her as a tough businesswoman/kung fu fighter that Heshen entrusts, with little back-up, to retrieve damning evidence against him and his brother. I think I would like Grace Wong in this role instead. She is also thin as a toothpick, but she was great as the scrappy, kick-butt Fa Man in AFWFW. I also thought her chemistry with Ruco was more romantic than sibling-like. It reminds me of their sizzling dance performance many years ago. Oh well, maybe in the future they can be in another series together as a couple.

    But that’s me going off on a tangent, I am still hoping against hope that this series does not shift to a strong romantic focus.

    It is probably my preconceptions of Angelina Lo as the bubbly, dim mama characters, but I don’t know if I can get into her scheming grand consort role.

    Joel was great begging for his life. I had to laugh because he had to do that back-to-back. Poor guy is a lonely but fascinating wild card.

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