It has been more than two years in the making, but Zhang Ziyi’s (章子怡) debut drama series Monarch Industry <上阳赋> is finally gearing up for a 2021 premiere.
Based on the novel Di Huang Ye <帝凰业> written by Mei Yu Zhe (寐语者), the drama is set in fictional historical China, and follows a woman who grows to become one of the most powerful co-rulers of the kingdom as she supports her husband in his conquests.
Zhang Ziyi plays Wang Xuan and Zhou Yiwei (周一围) plays her husband Xiao Qi. Taiwanese actor Tony Yang (杨佑宁) stars as Zidan, her first love interest.
Monarch Industry faced a plethora of challenges during its production period, including numerous postponements and an actor being fired due to alcoholism. Filming for the show, which ended in 2018, was done quietly, with little promotional material release.
It is the first television drama to star Zhang Ziyi, who made her debut in the Chinese film Star Lighting <星星点灯> 24 years ago.
She then went ahead to become one of the world’s most celebrated Chinese actresses, after her starring performance in the Ang Lee’s (李安) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon <卧虎藏龙>.
Monarch Industry also stars Hong Kong actresses Kara Wai (惠英红) and Angie Chiu (赵雅芝), who plays Zhang Ziyi’s mother.
2021 will be a great year for Chinese TV-goers, as award-winning actresses including Zhou Dongyu (周冬雨) and Sun Li (孙俪) will also be leading in new television drama series. Ratings queens Yang Mi (杨幂) and Zhao Liying (赵丽颖) will also be starring in new shows after their long break from acting.
However, fans have expressed their concerns for Ziyi, and fear that her new show will fail to capture new fans and viewers alike, considering that shows like Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace <如懿传> and Ming Dynasty <大明风华>, which respecticaally starred Zhou Xun (周迅) and Tang Wei (汤唯), were underwhelming and failed to make an impact in the television industry.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.