Chinese actress Zhou Xun stars in the historical drama Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace, which unveils the stunning love story between Ruyi and the powerful Emperor Qianlong (Wallace Huo). The drama has been praised for its beautiful production, vivid characters, and gorgeous costumes. Let's take this opportunity to find out some interesting facts about the famous leading actress.

Zhou Xun is an acclaimed actress who has won numerous Best Actress honors, including being the first actress to win all three major awards of the Greater China region: Golden Rooster Awards (China), Golden Horse Awards (Taiwan), and the Hong Kong Film Awards.

It's an amazing feat that the young girl who grew up with an interest in dramatic arts could not have imagined. Furthermore, Zhou Xun's strong will has helped her overcome many challenges in life.

1. Her given name, Xun (迅), means "fast." Her father named it for the premature baby "who came so fast." (In case you're wondering, Xun is pronounced like Shun.) Although her father had wanted her to become a writer, the young girl grew up watching movies, studied dancing, and eventually chose acting as her professional calling. She debuted in a movie at the age of 17.

2. She speaks her lines with perfect pronunciation and diction, and you wouldn't have guessed that she has had to overcome severe stuttering. She is also very open in sharing her experience and encouraging stutter sufferers not to care about how other people see them.

3. Zhou Xin won a major role in the movie Suzhou River in 1998. Director Lou Ye praised her as a "natural actor" and her professionalism, citing, as an example, that she jumped backwards from a bridge into the river without using a stunts-person, even though she could not swim and had a fear of water. For her dual-role in the film noir, Zhou Xun won Best Actress at the 15th Festival du Film de Paris and ascended into the top tier among Chinese actresses. (Ironically, Suzhou River was banned in China for many years because it was screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam without the government's official authorization.

4. After a series of failed romances, she married Chinese-American actor Archie Kao of CSI: Las Vegas fame in 2014. Unfortunately, there are many reports about the couple hardly seeing each other in recent years, and that they are on the brink of divorce. We wish them the best regardless of what happens.

5. Ruyi's director recently revealed that Zhou Xun filmed the first two episodes after the new drama had started filming for half a year. He was responding to some viewers' criticism about the actress' puffy face, saying that the 43-year-old actress did a fantastic job despite physical exhaustion. If there was any fault, the production's scheduling decision was to blame, said the director.

6. Yes, it's her real voice that you hear in Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace!

Some Chinese viewers have criticized her for having a deep voice, as compared to that of prevailing female characters in dramas, particularly when she played a teenage Ruyi. In a sea of Chinese dramas where many characters are dubbed by voice actors, it would seem that viewers would appreciate an actor going the extra mile to dub with his/her own voice, especially for the demanding classical style of speech in historical dramas. Don't you think it's refreshing to hear her distinctive voice?

(You'll hear her voice at the beginning of this teaser clip.)

Fortunately, the self-assured Zhou Xun doesn't seem bothered by these minor criticisms. There are also many fans who praise her acting style as the kind that's needed to see a character weathering changes and growth in the story that explores complex relationships over a span of decades.

With her guts and independent streak, Zhou Xun has continued to choose varied and difficult roles, and works her heart out to perfect the characterization. No wonder she took on the role of Ruyi.

Watch Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace to see how Qianlong became the powerful emperor who was admired and feared by many, but probably only loved by only one woman, Ruyi.


Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace - 如懿传

Starring Zhou Xun and Wallace Huo

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Isn't Zhou Xun a unique actress with a special presence?

See more photo stills and trailers HERE, and read about how Wallace Huo plays Emperor Qianlong.

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