Did Yu Zheng’s Defence of Vivien Li Meng Who Played the Odious Crown Princess in “The Double” Just Backfire?

Did Yu Zheng’s Defence of Casting Vivien Li Meng in "The Double" Just Backfire?
Li Meng in The Double
Photos: 李梦VIVIEN/ Weibo

Costume historical drama The Double 墨雨云间 turned out to be quite the unexpected hit of early summer, attracting lots of notice not just for its leads but even down to actress Vivien Li Meng whose fantastic performance playing the villain you’d love to hate as Princess Wanning impressed many. Unfortunately for the 31-year-old actress though, no matter how great her performance is, she continues to be dogged by a reputation that she’s grown too big for her boots whilst acting all diva-like to this day.

What Happened

That same reputation was once again resurrected when Netizens noticed her liking a post praising The Double whilst dissing The Tale of Rose. The incident some years ago wherein Vivien Li Meng was already filming the TV series White Deer Plain and replaced midway while her scenes in the movie were cut was put under the spotlight once again. Then the clip of her crying after she was confronted about in a reality show also went around online. I reckon all that negative attention got to be too much that even Yu Zheng who produced The Double felt the need to speak up and defend his choice of casting though some say he seems to do more harm than good as it kinda confirmed what everyone in the industry has been saying.

Giving Her a Chance and Showing Kindness

In a long-winded post, the producer detailed how he ended up working with Li Meng in the drama. First,  it was a case of being “in the right place at the right place”  type of scenario since He Ruixian who was supposed to take the role of Wanning was unable to make it to existing commitments. Since he was having dinner with Li Meng, it felt like it was meant to be. He thought why not to give her a chance and “help someone who was humiliated and harmed” by the industry.

Once he and the show director decided to go for it, he said he totally didn’t expect two of Li Meng’s former agents calling him to dissuade him from casting her. They warned him that she’d be difficult to work with. When he talked to her again about his concerns, he said she didn’t defend herself and instead said something that left a big impression:  “People always have to show a little kindness”.

Vivien Li Meng on Set

After she was cast though, Yu Zheng said the crew raised a lot of complaints about her. Li Meng constantly moaned about her heavy headdresses, she’s always late, she has no sense of boundaries with other actors and kept taking their water bottles to drink from, occasionally she isn’t prepared and didn’t memorise the script. The director even had to send her chat messages reminding her to memorise the script like a child.

But then he’d also find himself repeatedly blown away by her acting skills. He said she’s also very willing to accept her faults that the crew went from having complaints to speaking up for her. With all that’s said and done, as long as the show ended up being good, none of these mattered. There are many actors more difficult to deal with than Li Meng but because they were popular, everyone would just tolerate those flaws, he said. Ultimately, he said no one’s perfect and that he’s still happy to have worked with her.

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6 Comments

  1. blueclue

    July 10, 2024 4:45 AM
  2. HL

    July 10, 2024 12:59 PM
  3. avarachika

    July 10, 2024 10:35 PM
    • XZF

      July 11, 2024 9:00 AM
  4. Coralie

    July 11, 2024 9:51 AM
    • XZF

      July 11, 2024 11:58 AM

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