The Central Academy of Drama, founded in 1950, became one of the first theatre higher education institutions. Today, it is well-known as one of the highest-ranked drama and stage arts institutes. Here are the top 10 Chinese celebrities who made their way through the Drama Academy:
1. Zhang Ziyi
Zhang Ziyi, born in 1979, is a Chinese model and actress. She gained recognition through her roles in The Road Home (1999), Crounching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Rush Hour 2 (2001), House of Flying Daggers (2004), Hero (2002), Memoirs of Geisha (2005), and The Grandmaster(2013). For her movie The Grandmaster, she won 12 different Best Actress Awards. In 1996, at 17, Zhang Ziyi entered the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.
2. Gong Li
Gong Li, born in 1965, is a Chinese actress. She got nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film. She graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing in 1989. She is well known for her roles in the movies Ju Dou (1990), Raises the Red Lantern (1991), The Story of Qui Ju (1992), the Oscar-nominated film Farewell My Concubine (1993), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Chinese Box (1997), Breaking the Silence (2000), Miami Vice (2006), and many more. She debuted in 1987 in the anti-Japanese war romance film Red Sorghum by Zhang Yimou.
3. Jiang Wen
Jiang Wen, born in 1963, is a Chinese actor, director, and screenwriter. He starred with Gong Li in Zhang Yimou’s first film Red Sorghum(1986), and as Baze Malbus in Star Wars: Rogue One (2016). He graduated from The Central Academy of Drama in 1984 and got assigned to China Youth Art Institute after graduation. Jiang made his acting debut in the film The Last Empress. In 1994, he directed his first film- In the Heat of the Sun, adapted from a novel by Wang Shou.
4. Zhang Luyi
Edward Zhang, born in 1980, is a Chinese actor and director. Zhang graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. He starred in movies like The Devotion of Suspect X (2017), The Mystic Nine (2016), Love Me if You Dare (2015), Sparrow (2016), and The Legend of the Cat Demon (2017).
5. Diao Yinan
Diao Yinan, born in 1969, is a Chinese actor, director, and screenwriter. His films are focused on the subject matter of realism and urban crime. He is known for his films like Black Coal and Thin Ice. Diao graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in 1992. He directed many movies like Uniform (2003), Night Train (2007), and The Wild Goose Lake (2019).
6. Zhang Xincheng
Zhang Xincheng, or Steven Zhang, born in 1995, is a Chinese actor. He debuted in the high school drama My Huckleberry Friends (2017). Zhang moved to Beijing in 2008 to attend Beijing Dance Academy. In 2014 he entered the Central Academy of Drama and graduated with a degree in musical theatre. Zhang is well-known for his roles in the movies like Skate into Love (2020), Go Ahead (2020), Young Blood (2019), and The Justice (2021).
7. Papi Jiang
Jiang Yilei, born in 1987, is a Chinese actress and comedian. She makes comedy videos on blogs, where she pokes fun at everyday topics like dating, relationships, and entertainment news. Papi Jiang+ graduated from the Central Academy of Drama and worked as an actor and assistant director.
8. Wei Daxun
Wei Daxun, born in 1989, is a Chinese actor, singer, and host. Wei ranked 56th on the Forbes China Celebrity List in 2020. He graduated from the Central Academy of Drama. Wei Daxun started acting in 2014 in the drama One and a Half Summer. He starred in many other films like Forever Young (2015), Somewhere Winter (2019), 1921 (2021), A Love Never Lost (2021), and We Are in Love (2015).
9. Zhang Yang
Zhang Yang, born in 1967, is a Chinese actor, director, and screenwriter. He is the son of Zhang Huaxun, a film director. Zhang graduated with a degree in Chinese literature and then graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in 1992. He received many rewards for the films Shower (1999), Sunflower (2005), and Quitting (2001).
10. Bao Gua’an
Bao Guo’an, born in 1946, is a Chinese actor and professor at China’s Central Academy of Drama. He is well-known for his roles in Romance of the Three Kingdoms (1994 tv series), Sacrifice (2010), The Opium War (1997), The Rebirth of a King (2005), Sleek Rat, The Challenger (2013), and many more.