The Legend Of Hao Lan 皓镧传 recently aired its last episode, bringing the 62-episode series to a close. The drama tells the story of Hao Lan, played by Wu Jinyan. She is known in history as Zhao Ji, the wife of King Zhuangxiang of Qin and the mother of Qin Shi Huang.
Yu Zheng shares why he chose to produce a drama centered around the character. Yu Zheng reveals that six years ago, he came across material about Zhao Ji by chance. Her name was not recorded in history books. She was merely known as a woman from Zhao even though she was a significant figure in the Warring States Era.
She is Qin Shi Huang’s mother, Lv Buwei’s lover and had a male harem after her husband died. She’s already a very colorful character to begin with, but what really drew Yu Zheng to her story was the time after Zhao Ji’s husband Ying Yiren escaped. She raised her son alone in Zhao for many years and would have had to resort to great lengths as a hostage, a prisoner and a fighter because only a strong person could survive what she went through.
In sharing his closing thoughts about the drama, Yu Zheng said that he was determined to make it “even if it the script was from six years ago, had no promotion and advertisements, had important scenes cut out, or got criticized.” There are speculations that many scenes were cut due to censorship. Netizens dug up a scene of Lv Buwei and Hao Lan on a boat indicating a happy ending for the two that were never shown in the drama.
Interesting. On one hand, I really admire Yu Zheng for having the guts to go against the grain and interpret this historical figure in new light. Consider the crazy rants from people who say "it's insulting to whitewash the infamous slut." I think the fun is in doing just that.
He also did a good job, because it does make you wonder about the truth behind historical records, especially in regards to descriptions of powerful women, which unfortunately have always been social anathema.
On the other hand, while the inspiration's there, the drama sagged at the end, 虎頭蛇尾 ("great beginning, weak ending") The script also doesn't have the on-the-edge momentum built into it that excites the core audience of Yanxi fans. It relies instead on the dalliance of the leads to sustain attention, which can only work up to a certain point. I think the problem is it's trying too hard to get the message out: "women should love themselves first". LOL. As if.
But it could've been so much more, it really could. I almost felt like I was reading an old English poem about forbidden love but with the head of our politically correct times vehemently popping into it. That's all.