In the film as on TV screen, China has long been teeming with excellent actors. Chinese actors show style, charisma, and gift. And with every single film or drama, they win us over a little bit more. But have you been pondering which among the various Chinese actors out there is the most renowned one in the Chinese-speaking world? Which is the most renowned one? And the most successful one? But one point is definite that their acting is award worthy.
1. Jiang Wen
When it comes to great Chinese actors, Jiang Wen is the first one to jump to many Chinese people’s minds. Known for his non-conformist manner, Jiang Wen is a giant in the Chinese cinema industry. Born in 1963 in the industrial city of Tangshan in China’s Heibei Province, Jiang Wen was the eldest son of a military family that transferred to Beijing when he was 10 years old.
2. Ge You
Ge You, frequently with a bald shaven pate, is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most famous Chinese performers. He is not only the Best Actor winner of Golden Rooster Awards, China’s most prestigious film awards but also the first Asian actor to receive Cannes’ best performance prizes. Ge You was born in Beijing in 1957 to actor parents who both worked in movies. However, his acting career did not start off all that easily. After graduating from middle school, Ge You had to relocate to the suburbs of Beijing to farm pigs throughout China’s Cultural Revolution.
3. Jet Li
Li Lianjie, best known by his stage name Jet Li, is one of the most prominent Chinese film performers in the world. Once considered the heir presumptive to the original master Bruce Lee Li Lianjie has achieved global reputation for his superb martial arts talents and his representations of virtuous, humble heroes. Born in Beijing in 1963, Li Lianjie started a summer sports programme at Beijing Shichahai Sports School when he was just eight years old and was randomly allocated to a wushu (martial arts) class.
4. Wu Jing
Wu Jing is an internationally well-known Chinese actor noted for his roles in martial arts films and portraying fierce action heroes. He is also among a new breed of Chinese action heroes turned directors. Born in Beijing in 1974, Wu Jing began learning wushu (Chinese martial arts) at Beijing Shichahai Sports School when he was only six years old and won his first national championship at age twelve.
5. Chen Daoming
When Chen Daoming’s name is spoken, some of the biggest roles in Chinese television rush to mind: Puyi, Kangxi, Liu Bang. Chen Daoming is one of the most recognised and respected actors in China. Best recognised for his portrayal of emperors and monarchs of numerous dynasties, he is termed “the Emperor of Chinese TV series”. Let’s take a look back at this famous actor’s extraordinary life tale.
6. Huang Xiaoming
With an extremely extensive record of wins and honours including Most Actor at the Golden Rooster Awards, Hundred Flowers Awards, and Golden Eagle Awards, Huang Xiaoming is one of the best known and most successful actors in China. Huang Xiaoming was born in Qingdao, Shandong Province in 1977, son of an engineer and an accountant. At age 7, he was chosen by a film producer to star in a drama as a child actor but was dropped later because of his shy and introverted demeanour.
7. Chen Kun
Born in Chongqing in 1976, Chen Kun started out as a typist, a bartender, a solo singer at nightclubs, and later the China Oriental Song and Dance Ensemble (now China National Song and Dance Ensemble) before being admitted to the prestigious Beijing Film Academy in 1996, where he began formal training in acting. In his senior year of college, he was cast in Love Story in Shanghai, a historical television drama series directed by Zhao Baogang. Chen Kun made a strong performance as the starring role Chen Zikun and soared to popularity fast.
8. Liu Ye
With his first Golden Horse Award at age 23, Liu Ye is recognised by many as one of China’s most outstanding actors. Instead of depending on his good physical looks to become a teen idol, Liu Ye has chosen the arduous path of consistently testing himself by taking on difficult roles on television. From honest, simple, and down-to-earth “farmer-like” roles, weak and gloomy character, to tough and Casanova roles, Liu Ye has convinced not only the audience but also well-established international filmmakers, of his exceptional acting skills.
9. Huang Bo
Huang Bo made his acting debut in 2000, participating in director Guan Hu’s film Get in, and Go. As a young actor, Huang Bo struggled, he had multiple smalls roles in TV shows and relatively little lines. In 2006, Huang Bo came out as star in motion pictures with filmmaker Ning Hao‘s low-budget dark comedy flick Crazy Stone, in which he plays Heipi, a foolish thief. The film was a tremendous blockbuster in China, catapult Huang Bo and other cast members to celebrity overnight.
10. Wang Baoqiang
Wang Baoqiang was born into a destitute farmer family in Xingtai, Hebei Province in 1982. At age 8, he watched the smash-hit Shaolin Temple starring Jet Li when the film was presented in his village. This movie encouraged the little child, who was regularly bullied by other youngsters, to become a Chinese kungfu celebrity one day. That same year he started martial arts training at the legendary Shaolin Temple against his family’s request. From the age of 8 to 14, Wang Baoqiang would have to get up at 5 am in winter, and 4 am in summer, running half-marathons and climbing rocks with 45-degree angles as part of his training. He believed that if he completed the programme he could become a Hollywood star.