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Saturday, 20 October 2018

Drama: My Fair Princess 1998

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My Fair Princess 1998 / Princess Returning Pearl China Drama
Title: My Fair Princess 1998 / Princess Returning Pearl
Chinese Title: 还珠格格 / Huan Zhu Ge Ge
Broadcast Network: CTV, Hunan TV
Broadcast Date: October 28, 1998
Initial Release Date: April 28, 1998
Genre: Comedy, Costume, Palace, Romance
Language: Mandarin
Episodes: 24
Director: Sun Shupei
Screenwriter: Chiung Yao
Production Company: Yi Ren Communications Co., Hunan Broadcasting System
Region: China

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Synopsis and Plot Summary

A commoner longs to meet her father, the Emperor, for the first time. She crosses paths with a bubbly and kind-hearted thief who is mistaken for the princess and gets into all sorts of troubles in the palace.

Emperor Qianlong (Zhang Tielin) and Xia Yuhe (Ruby Lin) had a one night stand and it produced a daughter, Xia Zi Wei (Ruby Lin). Upon Xia Yuhe’s death, Zi Wei and Jin Suo (Fan Bingbing) go on a journey to search for Qianlong but were denied entry at the gates.

Desperate, they become friends with Xiao Yanzi (Vicki Zhao) who tries to help but gets mistaken for Zi Wei. The real Zi Wei loses everything including the token that can prove Qianlong is her father. Emperor Qianlong celebrates the return of Xiao Yanzi without knowing that she is an imposter. Xiao Yanzi tried to bring Zi Wei into the palace as a maid but it strikes doubt about their real relationship. Moreover, the Empress (Dai Chunrong) notices that Emperor Qianlong has a fondness for Zi Wei which makes her jealous and increasingly suspicious. The Empress becomes an enemy to Xiao Yanzi and Zi Wei who have made friends with the 5th Prince Yong Qi (Alec Su), Er Kang (Zhou Jie) and Er Tai (Julian Chen), thus starting a long and unforgettable story that takes place within the palace walls of the Qing Dynasty.



Fun Facts

  • It first premiered in Taiwan on April 28, 1998 and premiered in Mainland China on October 28, 1998.
  • Filming the drama was difficult for Alec Su who has never left home for as long as half a year before.
  • Vicki Zhao won Best Actress at the 17th Golden Eagle Awards.
  • The cast shot up to stardom. Vicki Zhao, Ruby Lin and Fan Bingbing are still regarded as A-list celebrities.
  • Filming took place in Chengde from summer to winter. Alec Su did not know what to wear so he put on so many layers that he looked like a bun. It is also how he earned the nickname Wu Bao Zi (5th Bun).
  • The scene where Rong Momo tortured Zi Wei with needles became a classic. Due to her character being too hateful, Li Mingqi shared that people threw eggs at her while walking on the street. She reveals that she never stuck a needle in Zi Wei and that it was all fake. Since she was afraid to accidentally hurt Ruby Lin, she kept the pointy end firmly within her fingers and stabbed Ruby Lin's character with the back of her hand.
  • During a scene where Vicki Zhao had to grab onto a tree to escape Rong Momo, the Director requested that she had to fly up in one take. Vicki Zhao had to reshoot several times along with Alec Su and Zhou Jie to get it perfect. By the time they finished, they was too tired to even walk.
  • Zhou Jie fell from a horse on his first day of filming in Inner Mongolia. He was fine despite the fall but on the third day, he fell from a horse again and injured his waist. He was sent to a hospital in Inner Mongolia and transferred to a hospital in Beijing for treatment. After he recovered, he returned to Inner Mongolia to complete his scenes. Zhou Jie developed a fear of riding horses because of the experience.
  • The cast have remained good friends after the drama. Vicki Zhao and Fan Bingbing attended Ruby Lin's wedding in 2016.
  • Alec Su invited Vicki Zhao to sing the theme song for his directorial debut in the movie Left Ear. The two also reunited in the reality show Chinese Restaurant in 2018. Zhang Tienlin came as a guest.
  • When Ruby Lin went on the Taiwanese talk show Kangsi Coming in the early 2000, she revealed that Zhou Jie tried to french kiss her in a scene but she refused. The two have fallen out of terms and have had public spats about each other.
  • It is the most popular adaptation based on Chiung Yao's works.
  • Ruby Lin wasn't originally part of the cast. Vicki Zhao was supposed to play Zi Wei because production team wanted an actress with basic background in martial arts as Xiao Yanzi. The actress casted as Xiao Yanzi ended up taking a role in another movie and requested that filming be delayed. As it was not possible, Ruby Lin got the role of Zi Wei instead.
  • Filming did not go smoothly for the production. There were a few last minute casting changes. For example, the role of Rong Momo was supposed to be played by someone else.
  • Ruby Lin had a drama airing in Taiwan at that time that was received badly by viewers. Although the production team had doubts about her, they ultimately decided to keep her in the cast.


Cast
My Fair Princess 1998 Vicki Zhao Wei Vicki Zhao Wei as Xiao Yanzi
My Fair Princess 1998 Ruby Lin Ruby Lin as Xia Yuhe
My Fair Princess 1998 Su Youpeng Su Youpeng as Aisin Gioro Yong Qi
My Fair Princess 1998 Zhou Jie Zhou Jie as Fu Erkang
My Fair Princess 1998 Zhang Tielin Zhang Tielin as Aisin Gioro Hong Li
My Fair Princess 1998 Chen Zhipeng Chen Zhipeng as Fu Ertai
My Fair Princess 1998 Fan Bingbing Fan Bingbing as Jin Suo
My Fair Princess 1998 Dai Chunrong Dai Chunrong as Empress Wu La Na La Shi ( Empress Gan Longdi )
My Fair Princess 1998 Li Mingqi Li Mingqi as Rong Momo
My Fair Princess 1998 Juan Zi Juan Zi as Ling Fei Wei Shi (Empress Xiao Yichun)

Supporting Cast
Stills
My Fair Princess 1998 / Princess Returning Pearl China Drama
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