This week, one of the producers from the hit drama Word of Honor 山河令 starring Zhang Zhehan and Simon Gong Jun gave us several insights about casting for the drama. Chemistry and acting ability aside coz this is something hard to determine on paper, Ma Tao (马韬) mentioned the key things they were looking for when they shortlisted potentials.
First, she said the two male protagonists must be between the ages of 27 and 29, old enough to have “experienced life”. Because this isn’t a story of a young adult growing into adulthood, having someone with no life experiences play the part won’t be so believable. Next, the two male stars must be unattached – unmarried, never had been married and most importantly, single. Ma Tao also said that “if you look at the level of popularity they’re currently enjoying, who would want them to have a romantic partner.”
After enjoying a huge surge of popularity thanks to their performances in Word of Honor, it’s hard to believe Zhang Zhehan and Simon Gong Jun might not have been producers’ first choice to play Zhou Zishu and Wen Kexing. Rumour has it that the role of Zishu was supposed to have gone to actor Mao Zijun but the pandemic messed up everyone’s filming schedules. Nonetheless, Ma Tao has also previously revealed that Zhang Zhehan got the role without having to audition because she was set on having him play the part. She wasn’t familiar with Gong Jun and he got the part after auditioning.
Now that we’ve seen the insane chemistry between Zhang Zhehan and Gong Jun though (that includes their funny antics off-screen too), it’s quite lucky they seemed to have hit it on the head when it comes to casting. The pair’s immense popularity at the moment – to the point that they’re both mobbed and hounded by super fans, should be enough proof of that. Besides, if anything, the super funny shenanigans Zhang Zhehan and Simon get up to when they’re guesting together on shows will tell you chemistry has never been a question between these two.
It’s always the pair that you don’t think will work that ends up blowing us out of the water. So happy for GJ & ZZH! ❤️
This makes no sense to me. Why do they have to be single? And what does that have to do with their popularity? It’s not like they’re going to date their fans. Would they really be less popular with wives?
I think there will be less CRAZY female fans like them for that reason. Normal people won’t mind that they are not single, but then they are NORMAL people.
The producer makes sense and love that they dont cast more immature fresh meat and specifically look for the 27-29 age group.
If they have wives/girlfriends DIEHARD FANS cannot ship the actors beyond their characters and will significantly hinder their popularity and they wont enjoy the current resources and advertisements. Try imagine GJ has a wife and baby at home, does the hoarde of fangirls still wanna diehard fangirl on him this much or shipping the ZZH/GJ CP?
This kind of thinking leads to a lot of toxic stuff. Why should anyone ship two actors beyond the roles they play? They should be lauded and admired for their skills, charisma and talent, even for their onscreen chemistry. Not for fulfilling fans closet fantasies long after the drama is over. What happens then, when these actors move on to other roles, as they inevitably will?
You can’t deny that this is the truth. Also, casting single men means that they can promote more and sell more. I also think it’s to lessen the amount of damages that could also come with it, for example, crazy fans coming for the male celeb’s family had he been married. This is business after all.
This is the trend now. The entertainment is a business after all. They are targeting the diehard fans to come out of their product.
Sounds like you have to star in BL to get popular in Chinese Entertainment industry. I just don’t get the fascination of BL. I don’t care how good it’s. BL is not my cup of tea.
I’m at a loss myself. This is a BL genre as well, so the insistence on them being single defies logic. Reasoning like these is why some fans have difficulty separating the drama’s characters from the actors real lives. And leads to all sorts of toxic fan behaviors and fan wars. The production should encourage art, of course, but not at the expense of the actors personal lives.