The cast of the upcoming period C-drama Cruel Romance worked through the Lunar New Year holiday break rather than take the customary time off just so the filming can squeeze in the final bits and call it a wrap. The drama is currently scheduled for a September airing which is great for fans to look forward to rather than languish on the shelf like so many dramas which film and then can’t find a network to air. Initially I was interested just because I love the early Republic era Shanghai mobsters and molls setting, not to mention this drama is starring Huang Xiaoming who was born to wear a suit and fedora. My affection for leading lady Chen Qiao En has waxed and waned over the years but she is a savvy project picker so I figured this one was worth a look no matter what. The drama is adapted from the same name novel by C-writer Yu Yi and since it was a slow drama week for me I toddled off to read the novel last week. It was surprisingly short and shockingly addicting despite not being very well-written.
It’s best described as a Chinese version of a regency romance novel but with tamer sex scenes, the definition of a guilty pleasure. I was thinking about translating the novel for fun since it’s not a very long project but then I came across the synopsis for the drama adaptation and it’s significantly different than the novel. A new character has been added as the main antagonist, some of the character interactions have been beefed up or altered, and the back story for the female lead Jing Xiu has been significantly changed. That includes how she gets to Shanghai and meet up with male lead Zhuo Zhen. The drama version of Jing Xiu seems less wide-eyed and Candy heroine-esque, which is good, and even better is the creation of a big threat facing all the leads so that the OTP has more hoops to jump through. The novel was decidedly low on the angst and the C-drama seems fairly bursting with it. The official character stills are out as are more drama pictures and this one looks visually gorgeous and packed with pretty faces. I’ve also linked to the first teaser that has now been subbed in English. Enjoy!
Chen Qiao En as Rong Jing Xiu – Still wholeheartedly, or confused and uncertain.
Kimi Qiao as Xiang Ying Dong – Still strangers on the same road, or regret meeting too late.
Xie Jun Hao as Xiang Han Chuan – Still giving for the sake of others, or taking advantage of the situation.
Lu Jia Rong as Yin Ming Zhu – Still down in the depths of hell, or refusing to see the light.
Gi Ji as Maedo Ryuichi – Still total destruction, or with no regrets.
1930’s Shanghai, well-born young lady Rong Jing Xiu comes from a medical family but to save her teacher Chen Shen it leads to her entire family being wiped out. Jing Xiu takes Chen Shen’s gold watch and heads to Shanghai to seek her nemesis. On the steamliner bound for Shanghai, Jing Xiu protects Shanghai’s powerful and well-known businessman Zhuo Zhen, the two of them pretend to be lovers to evade murderous danger. Zhuo Zhen accidentally takes the watch with him and Jing Xiu seeks Zhuo Zhen and finds herself stumbling into the Broadway Dance Hall. She runs into her half-sister Ming Ju who is now the most famous courtesan at the hall as well as the lover of business magnate Xiang Han Chuan. Jing Xiu is injured in a melee and is saved by Zhuo Zhen and sent to Shi Zi Ling Hotel. When she awakens and mistakenly thinks Xiang Ying Dong, the younger brother of Xiang Han Chuan, saved her and starts to have feelings for him. The Japanese business man Maeda who was responsible for killing Jing Xiu’s family arrives in Shanghai and starts to manipulate Ming Ju in order to control all of Shanghai’s business avenues. He forces her to constantly swirl around Zhuo Zhen and the Xiang family, as well as mistreating Jing Xiu. After enduring lot of hardships Ming Ju finally understands the importance of family and chooses to destroy herself along with Maeda. In the end Jing Xiu and Zhuo Zhen finally become a couple.
Teaser for Cruel Romance (English subbed):
[youtube id=”HydY3FtRWQc” w=”625″ h=”445″]
I must see this.
I need this drama, like, yesterday.
Ya deseo que sea Septiembre !
I just LOOOOOOOOOOVE Chen Qiao En’s clothes in this. I want her skirt, I want her coat, I want everything!
I can’t wait for this drama!!! I miss Qiao En in dramas! I heard she’s also gonna be back in Taiwan later this year to work on a Taiwanese project, but she doesn’t what yet.I can’t wait til then b/c as much as I love In A Good Way, Taiwanese dramas lately has been missing some good dramas!!!
Btw, aren’t those their real voices koala? Which is sooo rare b/c Chinese dramas are always dubbed!
It is their real voices! I love HXM’s voice, the timbre is yuuuum. Usually teasers are real voices since dubs are added in post-production if it’s going to be added. Lots of C-dramas show teasers with real voices and then the final drama is dubbed so it’s not a sign that the drama won’t be dubbed. Period dramas are almost always dubbed. Only the modern dramas sometimes elect not to dub. CQE’s modern C-dramas are usually dubbed – Girl in Blue, Sunshine Girl. Only exception is SOP Queen. This one can actually get away without dubbing since all the leads speak Mandarin Chinese fine. CQE has her Taiwanese Mandarin twang but its less noticeable these days. If there is a HK actor in any C-drama then that’s certainly going to be dubbed, otherwise it’s starting to be a wait and see proposition. I hope this one isn’t dubbed since it just so happens to have a main cast that are all Mandarin speakers.
I never understood why cdramas dub the voices and even found it unbearable to watch their dramas due to the lack of not hearing the actors real voices but you gave a very explanation. I am guessing, for example, a taiwanese must have a accent when speaking mandarin or someone from hong kong must have one too so its easiest just to dub their voices.
Really? They always dub HK actors? Wallace Chung’s Mandarin interview sounded pretty good the one time I heard it. As is Taiwan’s Janine Chang. Do they always dub those two also? Their dubbed voices sound pretty nice actually.
I know Yang Mi has loads of fans, but I often cringe at Yang Mi’s or her dubber’s high-pitched voice(s). I’m glad she takes on less perky/bubbly roles now and her voice has gotten a bit lower.
Seems like they usually try to find a dubber with a similar voice quality to the actor who gets dubbed?
Chinese drama is getting better now days.Some of them.
Agree with you. I luv her she is amazing
I really want to watch this drama! I hope it gets subbed in english when it comes out.
Oh my, I was so excited for this that I actually read through the whole novel as well! (Good thing it was short, otherwise finishing it may have taken weeks with my so-so Chinese reading abilities…) I was surprised to see how much the drama synopsis differed from the actual novel, but I guess we’ll see if the changes are an improvement to the story or not.
Crossing my fingers that this will air as scheduled and won’t be delayed.
so excited! love HXM voice! so manly and sexy.
Yay! There’s an airdate! Although september feels like eons away at least it’s a date to look forward to (and within the year too)! Thanks a lot for the translated synopsis of the drama! I can’t wait!:D
Wow. It is gorgeous. I would love to watch this.
Love is a magnificent adventure and apparently involves guns, naked men, explosions, near death accidents and kissing, hopefully, lots of kissing naked men.
LOL you make the steam even hott
Ho ho seriously everyone seems talking about Cruel Romance.. Can’t blame when..the production tease us with eye candy. I guess 70% of the hype from Qiao En + Xiao Ming Stars Power!!
Can’t wait.. Hopefully the Cruel Romance drama good enough to make me crazyy every night then.. I miss being crazy with Qiao En drama :))
Oh pretty! Really hope Cruel Romance turn out success as the promotion.
Btw Tumble Into Fantasy 坠入迷幻 will translate Jin Xiu Yuan Novel!
I super excited for this drama to come out. Most of my favs are in here. The guys are hot and the girls are pretty. Even though I think that QE looks too modern for Shanghai Era, but she looks really pretty, I think can overlook the modern look.
I read the detailed summary of the OTP and I’m glad that they changed it up. I don’t really like the characters in the book. In the book description, the heroine is a bit too stupid and naive and the hero is just too stubborn to forgive.
I’m sold. But why… WHY? Why do we have to wait til September???
I love your blog, YES, please translate the Cruel Romance book to English. You write with so much passion that I feel you should write some romance novels for Regency or Bantam. I would buy them all. I am crazy about your translations and reviews. A big THANK YOU!!! AND MORE POWER…
Really luv HXM. He is pretty hot n the story is magnificient.
Please translate Jin Xiu’s Fate novel into english