Why does Zhou Xun look bloated in ‘Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace’?

“You can’t expect an actor to look forever 20,” says the show’s producer

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Two weeks into the broadcast of Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace and the internet is still rife with talks about how ‘old’ and ‘bloated’ Zhou Xun looks in the first two episodes of the show.

The 43-year-old actress was required to play a younger, 15-year-old version of her character, Ruyi, due to the storyline, but her deep and mature voice was a strong contrast to her character’s supposed youthfulness. It didn’t help that she appeared more bloated than usual in the first two episodes, too, as compared to the later episodes where she has a noticeably slimmer face.

There’s a good reason for her rounder face, according to the show’s producer Huang Lan, and it’s no fault of Zhou Xun’s.

At a Sina-organised panel session two days ago, producer Huang Lan agreed that Zhou Xun did look “slightly more bloated” than normal but explained that it was caused by the production team’s “unreasonable arrangement” of her filming schedule.

Zhou Xun only filmed her 15-year-old scenes six months after production began and was “very tired” by then. “We already tried our best [to salvage it] with technology, but you can’t expect an actor to look forever 20,” she added.

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Chinese director and actor Zhang Xiaolong who was also one of the panel guests also spoke up for Zhou Xun and said her ‘acting performance’ triumphed her looks.

Responding to feedback about the show’s slow pacing, producer Huang Lan said, “How fast or slow it feels differs from person to person and is related to what the viewers want. I personally felt that it was engaging throughout.”

Admittedly, the drama does get better as the story progresses – and when Zhou Xun no longer plays a 15-year-old.

Viewers who follow the drama series have lauded Wallace Huo and Zhou Xun for their strong acting performances and while the show showcases an entirely different storyline about Qianlong Emperor and his royal consorts as compared to Story of Yanxi Palace, it has its moments too.

Photos: PBE Media, Weibo

So what if Zhou Xun, 43, is playing a 15-year-old in ‘Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace’?
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