Before actor Wei Daxun became a household name, he was recognized mostly for his comedic appearances on variety shows, as well as for his well-documented relationships with older, renowned actresses.
Audiences appreciated his warm persona, which is on full display in TV segments where he’s donning Snow White costumes and joking around with TFboys member Roy Wang. But Wei’s newest role in Fireworks of My Heart has millions of fans looking at the “funny guy” in a different light, with a related hashtag shooting to the top of the trending charts on social media platform Weibo.
As a cameo character in the show, Wei plays powerful investor Meng Yanchen, wearing sleek black suits and gold-rimmed glasses. His complex storyline, centered around a profound love for his adopted sister, touches on concealed affection and ethical challenges.
Online, fans jokingly urge Wei to adopt his character’s manner of speaking, instead of his normal fun-loving persona.
Idol dramas tend to feature attractive, wealthy characters entwined in intricate, melodramatic romances. Usually, producers seek out the sexiest actors possible as a way to keep eyes glued to the screen, and to help viewers overlook improbable plot lines.
Nothing new here for Fireworks of my Heart, which leans on the star power of Yang Yang, a heartthrob whose chiseled features have racked up over 57 million followers on Weibo.
In an unexpected turn, though, audiences are falling in love with Wei, whose performance in a supporting role is managing to outshine the show’s lead. Thousands of comments under a trending Weibo hashtag indicate that viewers may be beginning to distance themselves from the increasingly scandal-laden scene of ultra-sexy, low-talent idols.
”If Wei Daxun had played Yang Yang’s role, it would have been amazing,” reads one comment.
”I’m going to kiss him to death,” reads another.
For the past decade, a special sector of idol actors has held a firm grip over Chinese TV. Called “traffic celebrities” for their viewer-drawing potential, or “wooden beauties” for their emotionless, plastic surgery-influenced performances, audiences were able to overlook their less-than-stellar acting skills.
While poor acting is definitely still here in 2023, the charm of beauty is beginning to wear off for some viewers. Kris Wu’s rape conviction, Deng Lun’s tax evasion, Zheng Shuang’s illegal surrogacy, Li Yifeng’s solicitation of prostitutes, and Cai Xukun’s abortion scandal, are all examples of incidents that are causing a shift.
While die-hard fans continue to support their heroes, a growing number of disenchanted viewers are starting to call for a better standard of acting — a movement referred to as “anti-traffic.”
For production companies, it’s a difficult balancing act. They rely on idols with large fan bases to drive subscriptions and views, but they also need skilled actors to produce quality shows.
Fireworks of My Heart may have found an interim solution in casting a lead with a huge following, alongside a more talent-driven co-star.
Images via Weibo
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