by Karpanei, November 9, 2020

I'm a newbie here at Chinese dramaland and have watched only a handful of historical dramas. A few dramas had actors with passable looking age gaps (between their actual age and the age of the character they played) or they were too handsome so they distracted you, e.g. Ashes of Love

In Joy of Life, Zhang Ruo Yun nailed the role to a T and I was so engrossed in the role he played, and although I was similarly engrossed with Chen Kun in The Rise of Phoenixes (TRoP), Luo Jin in Royal Nirvana (RN) and William Feng in The Story of Ming Lan (TSoML) I still couldn't help notice that these actors are in their 40s or close to it, though they could pull off characters in their 20s. But you know what, pulled it off they did and to date, Chen Kun in TRoP is my favourite character so far. So what makes them so appealing?

Both Chen Kun and Luo Jin are veteran actors and I saw that they brought the skills they learned from their years of acting into the dramas. They became the characters and they owned the characters. Chen Kun is Ning Yi and Ning Yi is Chen Kun and I can't see any other actor in that role.

Both these characters also require emotional depth and expressions that I don't think any of the younger cast could have done.  Let's agree that the only expression that most of the younger cast can pull off is a silent stony face character who is supposed to be strong and occasionally a single tear drips down his cheek to express his agony. But I believe strength is seen not when you resist something but when you so badly want it but choose to give it up. It's like the saying goes, bravery is not the absence of fear but rather the triumph over it. When Chen Kun and Luo Jin cried you cried with them. When they were happy you smiled with them and when they were devious you go like, "that's my boy."

The characters these actors play are intricate and any wrong move would end in their demise. Those heart-pounding moments when you are wondering, is he going be safe? Is he going to win this fight? Is he going to be okay? Please let him be okay! I never experienced that with any of the younger cast.

And finally body language and the way the actors held themselves. They were royalty and it was portrayed in minute mannerisms. When they bowed or moved around, when they commanded, even when they adjusted their robes, you could see it was regal and not halfhearted hand gestures. And they pulled off the attitude of a young adult perfectly.

So those are my reasons why I think they have older actors play these intricate but young characters on TV. Do share with me yours.

Editors: BrightestStar (2nd editor)

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