Zhang Ling He Finally Gets the Strong Reviews of His Performance with Story of Kunning Palace But Sadly Industry Gossip Says He and Bai Lu are Now Broken Up

So I’m a little behind on all my dramas some that I intend to watch I just haven’t had the bandwidth to start and that includes recently premiered period drama Story of Kunning Palace. Starring Bai Lu and Zhang Ling He, the drama was abruptly pulled from premiere in May the day off and then suddenly released in November now so the push and pull has been a tease for eager fans. Luckily the drama has been well-received and from all accounts both leads are getting positive feedback, that’s normal for Bai Lu but from what I recall Zhang Ling He may be getting the best performance reviews of his career so far playing a darker character. This positive reception for Kunning Palace is unfortunately for the two leads not coming at a good time for their reportedly offscreen romance, industry insiders are saying the two dated for close to a year after filming the drama but recently broke up hence the lack of promos for this show. It doesn’t seem acrimonious though or at least both are professionals and handling love and work separately.


Zhang Ling He Finally Gets the Strong Reviews of His Performance with Story of Kunning Palace But Sadly Industry Gossip Says He and Bai Lu are Now Broken Up — 34 Comments

    • Right? Feel like they + Dylan were overexposed this year with their multiple dramas, promos, variety, events. It’s getting tiring seeing them. I’m ready for some fresh rookies or established stars with skills like Liu Shi Shi to shine.

  1. Yes, he’s definitely shining in this.
    As for their affair, the fact that they were physically attracted while shooting was a blessing for the audience, chemistry-wise. If they did broke up, well, I hope noone got hurt and anyway they are both young, I expect them to not stay heartbroken for too long! 😄😄

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  3. I kept laughing at Zhang Ling He’s vein popping ugly jealous face on episode 30, I wanted to screenshot that. Now that I have finished the drama, I can say that his acting chops were much better than Bai Lu. Bai Lu is good at certain scenes but when it comes to intensity she seems to be frozen and expressionless (especially in episodes 32 and 36, wink wink).

  4. He’s GREAT. His characters have ranged from goofy to intense. And though she’s always consistently good, she’s mostly played all her characters the same. Hopefully he’ll star in a production that has a compelling woman character one day to elevate his performance.

  5. I’m on the side where I like them both as actors but not heartbroken over whether they broke up. Also, I thought I saw them interact with eachother for the recent IQIYI Scream 2023. I thought ZLH always had potential so I hope he gets an even better character than Xie Wei in the future.

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  7. Strong writing really helped the drama. Im still in d middle and really enjoying the intrique and how d story flows. Strong performances from the cast too. Theres no blank, overacting or underacting from Bai Lu’s part imo. ZLH was great in d earlier school drama. This one is his best historical drama. Hope he chooses characters like this.

    • Also the news that they broke up was from awhile ago. New melons are saying they are together still but keeping it lowkey. Like Bai Jing Ting and Song Yi who didnot promote together so as not to distract the focus on the drama instead.

  8. I didn’t feel their chemistry in SOKP, but that may be due to the storyline and less themselves. It wasn’t a very convincing couple based on the plot.

    With that said, I thought that individually ZLH did excellent. There were some parts that surprised me in his acting (like that last part when he offed himself – the expression looked real.) And where he’s supposed to be dark and gritty, he looked the part. But there’s room for improvement. I certainly don’t want to be terrified of my MLs, but there are some mighty terrifying characters that can look threatening, and yet be magnetic. ZLH could be that, but he doesn’t need to be that, so I suppose it’s more of a bonus if he was.

    BL was serviceable, but there were less chances of her shining with the way the plot was established at the end. The first half the drama focused on her, but the latter half focused on ZLH. She was just there as romantic interest at the end, fizzling out. In the beginning though, at least her parts were interesting. There are still things she could’ve done to help more IMO, but she didn’t do them, e.g. help her older sister win the main wife role, or helping Yan Lin more during their buddy days. But she does what she feels is enough to redeem herself and that’s enough for her, I guess.

    All in all, a decent drama. I give it 7.5.

  9. I like him. He remind me of a younger lee min Ho when he was all up and coming with great potential. He should be careful about over exposure though – it seems his agency is keen to do as much to minimise risk of project cancellation but too much is just as bad as too little

  10. Should I pick it up again? I dropped after a few eps. The tropes were not fresh and Bai Lu was really tepid at the get-go to watch. I don’t recall there were many ZLH’s scenes in the first few eps though. I’m indifferent to secondary leads’ stories even some ppl gave so much attention to Wang Xingyue who? LOL

    • @Somebody I am at ep. 31 and loving it; I’d say try a couple more episodes but if it’s not up your alley just drop it, I mean we cannot all like the same things, can we.
      It’s more of a revenge show, fiy, and the FL dies spend quite a lot of time being focused on the SML, mostly out of remorse for what she’s done in her precious life. It’s only at around ep. 30 that she pays attention to a ridiculously hot (in this drama at least) ZLH, who is out to serve her in any way his kind of unhinged character can. At times it reminds me of Love like the galaxy, though the ML is not a military but a court man and it feels to me that he’s much more the devious/lurking type. He also has a much better styling what with the flowing hair and robes.
      Also, what I find good about this drama is that there are 0 fillers, everything is related to the plot.
      But as I said, no need to force yourself either.

      • Wow ZLH’s character piques my interest per your description. I love messy wild hot crazy bewildered dark antient fantasy antihero ! LOL. Ok, time to check it again.

        Thanks gals.

    • Definitely pick it up! Xie Wei’s character is written almost to perfection; he’s smart and calculating. To me, Wang Xingyue’s character arc was boring, he had less impact than the 3rd lead who acted as Yan Lin, who I felt had a better characterization for a 2nd lead.

  11. I’m on the fence with SOKP. It was a political drama, the romance is slow-burn and takes a back seat. The first half was a bore, a maze of setups and whatnots, although I’m intrigued by the plot, I was not emotionally invested, either from the acting/directing. The emotional payoff finally comes at the second half, when ML’s alliances and vulnerabilities are exposed, and this is also where ZLH shines the best, IMO.

  12. Unpopular opinion here but I daresay Bai Lu’s acting doesn’t deliver. She’s like a talking-walking robot to me! Yes, yes! I know she has lots of diehard fans who would love to disagree & be internet warrior right about now, but I honestly do not see her hype.

    At first I questioned that maybe it’s the complex of her characters or perhaps it’s production behind her shortcomings…but over & over again she is stiff. I have yet to finish any of her dramas. SOKP will be the first, when I do, because ZLH is a sexy beast, carrying the show along with the smart dialogues. Frankly, Bai Lu have no chemistry with her male co-stars, not here or in TTEOTM. That one was just awful! She always come off bored with her leads. As if she’s forcing herself to be with the guy because she thinks it’s the right thing to do. ***Cough, cough TTEOTM***

    Apart from that, I know here we have Bai Lu playing a similar FL to the one in TTEOTM. One, who is most afraid of a potential baddie ML & who has the world on her shoulders but seriously? Is life always so joyless? Deadpan all the time? Her emotions, voice & acting remains monotone in most vital scenes. When she’s smiling it looks forced, when she should be happy she definitely looks hesitant of it. But to end it on a better note, she does crying scenes best. They deliver, at last!

    • I agree with you. Her line delivery still needs a lot of work, even in Only for Love. Her acting feels “textbook”. When she’s sad, she’ll furrow her eyebrows and throw in a few sniffles. She doesn’t bring anything unique to any of her characters. A lot of these younger actresses don’t fully deliver the emotional scenes for me. But some people are fortunate and catch the eye of the audience. If it was based purely on acting talent, a lot of these lead actors and actresses probably would never land a main role.

    • Yes she can cry, at least in One and Only. But it seems a lot of Cdrama fans equate crying scenes to the whole acting talent. As long as actors cry well, they get passed easily to be regarded in the league of those who can act. LOL

      I do think BL needs to refine her expressions in remoting different characters to deliver more nuanced acting. I can’t differentiate between her characters transitioning from one drama to another (even in the case from a modern drama to a costume one), tbh. They all have the same actress BL vibe, not speaking for the characters themselves. LOL. That’s why she’ll be limited as to where she can reach. I don’t dislike her though and do think she has potential but just needs some extra work.

  13. Ιmo Bai Lu is as good as it gets for a traffic actress. I won’t judge her for Only for Love though, as that drama will stay as an embarrassing point in the career of anyone, and I mean ANYONE, involved with it.
    But although I am not a fan in the sense that I would watch anything she’s in, I find her entirely convincing in everything else that I have watched her in, and though she might not be the best actress in China, I don’t get why some people need to post everywhere how she’s a bad actress, doesn’t deserve her success, is ordinarily looking (the “girl next door type” 🤣🤣🤣), needs dental work or whatever jealous minds can come up with!

    • @Nena You need to watch her in King Is Not Easy to understand where this discussion of robotic is coming from. She absolutely did not impress me in that drama and will go down in history as her worst series, but you can see her progression from that drama to this one. There is less stiffness now than before, so she has improved. But to say she’s good… she’s very far from being good.

      • I recently read a article on how Nick Cheung commented on William Chan’s acting. I thinking having grow up watching many good Hongkong artiste at their best, I definitely have a certain standard to what good acting is.

        But it cannot be applied to current artistes… they are groomed differently. Just create and packaged a Image…they are off to earn as much money as possible for their investors and themselves. The idol will last for as long as they have increasing fans. When they reached they sell by date, new idols will takeover. There are never storage of wannabes in China. In the next 20yrs, I wonder how many of the current idols are still standing strong. Who can test time? Hu Ge is one…

        Those that can really act, can aim to break into movie land. The standards for movie artiste is much higher.

      • @HL what did Nick cheung say about William chan? agreed, we’re seasoned viewers, so we have higher standards.

        But to not have the same standards when it comes to traffic stars seems disrespectful to the whole industry. There are true blue actors and actresses who are working themselves to the bone to act well in their roles, and then you see traffic stars giving minimal effort in acting and getting praised to the heavens. Sure, they might not have longevity, but that’s true for any actor and actress.

      • @Coralie, Nick said even if William is popular in China and have lots of projects under his belt. Acting wise by Nick’s standard, he is no different to young actors. But William has potential and he is willing to help he improve. They are filming a movie together. So Nick is making lots of time helping him in his role. We may watch a raw side to William. It will be great.

      • @HL, I also read that article. I can’t agree more with what he said. William Chan is probably on the top of my list for crappy acting.

        @Nena, I’m one of the ones who find BL’s acting still mediocre and could use improvement. She’s okay though, definitely not the worst. But I will say, I think she’s very pretty. To say anyone like her, Zhao Lusi or Yu Shuxin are “girl next door” types is crazy. No one living next door to me looks like that!

  14. I felt Zhang Linghe had the best acting performance among the main cast as the episodes progressed. Color me surprised because I came in thinking he would be the weakest link. Kind of agree with others about Bai Lu being inconsistent and lacking depth, but she was serviceable overall in this.

  15. I just noticed that readers of this blog are mostly haters of bai lu’s acting or bai lu in general 😅 I think another article about her on this blog has the same people commenting negative lol.
    Come on, I get difference in opinion but this repetitive commenting just feels like hate spreading that it feels ridiculous to read the comment section. It just gives off such negative energy for anyone’s peace of mind.

    Tbh, she is not perfect. There are some scenes that she is lacking in some of her dramas. For example, she really can cry very well and can portray different types of crying (anguish, mad, lonely, etc) in OAO, TTEOTM, SOKP, but her seduction acting in both TTEOTM and OFL is not convincing. It feels like she was holding laughter. So definitely not perfect but definitely above average. She is still on the top for young actresses now in terms of acting skills, especially among those mainly acting in idol dramas. Even directors, many reputable industry personalities, and many cnetz and inetz has recognized her for that ability. That’s actually what she is known for. But again, not on the level of veterans, and known mainstream actors, that’s for sure. Why would you even compared idol actresses to mainstream actresses, they are at different phases of their career and targeting different audiences. 🤷‍♀️

    This people always criticize her acting as if she is the worse. If she is a robot then the majority of the actresses in idol dramas can forget their career haha. Haters would even turn to criticizing her teeth, face, body. lol just search for that other article haha. what shallow people she’s not even the very least ugly.

    One thing though is that she choose okay scripts/production but not great ones. There is always something major that is wrong about the drama. Her worse to date is OFL. That is why although I like her, her dramas are also not my favorite. That I can recognize.

    • No hate, no jealousy (on Bai Lu or you).

      Basically replying because I can’t keep my mouth shut at times. That I can recognized, too. Anyhow, your comment precisely confirms that you, yourself, do see that Bai Lu is lacking here and there. That already puts you and some of the readers here on the same page as far as that goes. Can’t speak for all, but fairly speaking, not all unfavored comments comes from hate or jealousy either.

      And yes, by all means, some of us ain’t directors, big name people or sources so what do we know about acting standards? Except what works for us and what doesn’t per say. But would it make it less ‘negative or a show of hate’ if one of us was supposedly a professional and giving our two cents then? Perhaps it would seemed more reliable but bottomline remains what it may. Both good and bad Criticisms gives room for improvement. Now, can you just imagine always seeing or hearing the same repetitive ‘great acting, good crying’ praises in your career to the point you are unable to strive for better because you genuinely think you’re a grand actor? I’m not speaking of Bai Lu alone here but as you brought up the rest of idols, it is something to be considered. And I’m not about spreading negativity or consuming unreliable inputs from little nobodies from the internet (such as myself) but little do go far——whether it’s from directors or not———it may improve an individual or the industry as a whole.

      Maybe if the world would I stop looking at every single unfavored comment as hate it can shape a crowd to their best forms. There is a possibility that most idols in the industry indeed are no better than Bai Lu, therefore a whole should improve. Hence, I say possibility not exactly declaring it.

      Otherwise, yes, for the ones who picks on her looks, constantly bashing one her or take it to certain extremes may be what you say——haters.

    • @HL what did Nick cheung say about William chan? agreed, we’re seasoned viewers, so we have higher standards.

      But to not have the same standards when it comes to traffic stars seems disrespectful to the whole industry. There are true blue actors and actresses who are working themselves to the bone to act well in their roles, and then you see traffic stars giving minimal effort in acting and getting praised to the heavens. Sure, they might not have longevity, but that’s true for any actor and actress.

    • @Nal emm I think we all have the same opinion about other traffic actresses, like Ju Jingyi. If they’re not good actresses, then they’re not good. Simple as that.

      Being able to do crying scenes does not equal to good acting.

  16. It’s a blessing we are seeing these actors. Did you guys see the behind the scenes? honestly the whole cast seemed to be genuine people, Bailu checking the the jar that she have to hit one of the stuntmen, Zou Jun wei promise to treat everyone ice cream because it was a very hot shooting day, Zhang Linghe being a true gentleman. They deserve all our love and support. I love how humble and supportive all of them to one another. I was very satisfied with the every twist and turn of the story, and the whole ending! I hope the whole cast will reunite again. To the production, whole team, Thanks for making this drama. Story of Kunning Place is a must to watch!!! Sending love to all.

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