After nine months spent on filming and a longer three year wait, award winning actress Zhang Ziyi is finally making her small screen debut tonight in her costumed historical series Rebel Princess (formerly Monarch Industry)上阳赋. The actress might be known to take only film projects but for the first time ever makes her foray into television screens playing another strong character (of course) – a princess called Wang Xuan who becomes a force to be reckoned with in her own right as she rules alongside her husband, ushering in a new era for their kingdom.
Rebel Princess is the drama adaptation of author Mei Yu Zhe’s novel entitled Emperor’s Conquest. Actor Zhou Yiwei partners up with Zhang Ziyi in the series to play her husband Xiao Qi – a poor family connection her father arranged for her to marry. Initially ashamed and frustrated after Xiao Qi was forced to leave the capital on the night of their wedding, the two eventually fall in love after circumstances reveal to a touched Wang Xuan Xiao Qi’s dream to safeguard peace and prosperity for the kingdom.
In the face of the diabolical machinations of the imperial court and the chaos brought about by border clashes and a rebellious uprising, two people initially brought together as pawns in a political game face the hardships hand in hand to welcome a new era of change for everyone.
Rebel Princess also features Tony Yang Youning who plays Wang Xuan’s childhood sweetheart Zi Dan, Kara Hui and Angie Chiu.
Making the Choice to Do a Drama Series
It’s obvious from Zhang Ziyi’s body of work that she has strictly been a film actress since the beginning of her acting career. So why make the change now? The actress gives us the answer in the short clip shared by the drama. Before anything else, Zhang Ziyi acknowledges that it’s a particularly big change for her since the beginning of her career and that it’s indeed a big challenge. However, because a series covers a longer period of time, it will enable her to delve deeper into the world of her character – the kind of relationships she has, the changes she’s been through and the character’s personal growth.
“Everyone is very curious why I am doing a drama series. There might even be viewers who will ask me whether I regret choosing to do this drama? Whether it’s to play a character in a movie or a drama series, I am playing a person. Who this person is, I think, is particularly important.” The actress adds that she was drawn to her character Wang Xuan because she had the temperament and the values of a modern woman. She is independent and boundless in her pursuit of her own freedom.
Zhang Ziyi says taking part and making a drama series has been a particularly great experience for her. Whether it’s received with love or the contrary, she says she’ll always stand by her character professionally and wholeheartedly.