Huang Xiaoming and Joe Chen Qiao’en recently finished filming for Cruel Romance (锦绣缘·华丽冒险), a Republican-era romantic drama that takes place in Shanghai and tells the love story of country girl Rong Jinxiu (Qiao’en) and triad leader Zuo Zhen (Xiaoming). We still have a way to go until an air date is announced, although a cast member said on Weibo that he expected the drama to air in September. In the meantime, tide yourself over with an action-packed trailer and some newly released stills.
The drama and the book it’s based off of, The Fate of Jinxiu (锦绣缘) by Nian Yi, both seem to be heavily focused on its heroine, but let’s not kid ourselves: in these new stills, Huang Xiaoming is the dominant force. In a way, this makes sense, since his character is described as the overbearing, authoritative, no-nonsense type.
Of course, Zuo Zhen proves to have a soft spot for Rong Jinxiu, whom he takes under his wing, thus going against his huffy claim that women are nothing but trouble. Jinxiu is a kind-hearted, wide-eyed young girl from the countryside, who went off to Shanghai to find help for her family. She ends up getting in a spot of trouble and gets acquainted with Zuo Zhen and his circle of friends and underlings.
Zuo Zhen is inexplicably drawn to Jinxiu, but unfortunately, she has a crush on his sworn younger brother, Xiang Yingdong (Kimi Qiao). This stems from a misunderstanding where Jinxiu thinks that Yingdong was the one who rescued her off the streets, when in reality, it was Zuo Zhen who saved her.
Unfortunately for Jinxiu, Yingdong has the hots for dance hostess Yin Mingzhu (Lv Jiarong), who is actually Jinxiu’s estranged half-sister and the lover of Yingdong’s brother Xiang Hanchuan (Gardner Tse). While I never got the impression that Yingdong held any romantic feelings for Jinxiu in the novel, they may change this up a bit for the drama, just to make the love triangle more prominent and give Kimi more screen time. Hooraaaay for one-sided love!
And since there must be a villain, we have a Japanese businessman (Qi Ji), who is manipulating Mingzhu in hopes of gaining control over the Shanghai economy, presumably through her ties to Xiang Hanchuan and Zuo Zhen, both of whom are well-known entrepreneurs.
For those of you interested in checking out the source novel, Shu Sheng Bar has a link to an online version, though there doesn’t seem to be any full English translations available. I also have a copy of the novel saved in Microsoft Word, which I would be game to upload if anyone wants it.
The novel is not too long (ten chapters, if I remember correctly) and moves along at a pretty fast clip with lots of dialogue, so I’d recommend checking it out if you want more of Cruel Romance before it begins airing. However, the drama does appear to deviate a little from the book, especially when it comes to Mingzhu, who was a pretty minor character in the novel, and the Japanese businessman, who does not exist at all.