Q: Why did you feel nervous then?
A: For one thing, there is a large amount of lines; for another, there are too many technical terms. When I first read the script, I didn’t think I could memorize the lines at all. But I didn’t want to give up because this character had a lot of ups and downs in the set period of his life, going through great changes, which would offer me particularly lots of room for imagination and creativity.
Q: Do you find eloquent Zheng Qiu Dong somewhat similar to you?
A: On the surface, we seem to be alike but actually we are different. Zheng’s eloquence is one of his survival skills but for me it’s not. It’s my instinct. (laughing out loud)
Q: You are a film and television actor as well as a stage actor. Is there a big difference between these two?
A: Huge difference! In terms of performing state, it is like the difference before makeup and after makeup. For film and television actors, what people see is not their real performing state at the time. It is a result of their performing combined with sound effects and editing. Even the actors’ performance itself is only complete through cinematographers’ lenses. But the performance in a stage play is the real deal.
Q: Earlier on in Shanghai, you finished performing in A Dream Like a Dream for the third consecutive year. Did you get more out of the character “Patient No. 5”?
A: This is a play that I will continue to perform in because I don’t think I have enough knowledge and understanding of this play and this role yet. Every year, I get something new from my portrayal of this character. I can no longer take it as simply a job. This play now has meant more than that.
Q: Will your explosive popularity affect the pursuit of your work?
A: Actors have to be down-to-earth because most of the roles we play are not stars but coming from our daily lives. If you are far away from most people’s lives, how can you portray the characters in our lives? Say, if you live in a mansion every day, living in comfort, how can you interpret a role at the bottom of the society? How do you experience what an ordinary person feels? So it’s very important to be down-to-earth.
Q: Do you like to travel with companions or alone?
A: For traveling it’s better to be alone. But for taking a trip, having companions is a little better. I separate these two far apart. Traveling, I think, is a process of thinking. Taking a tour, on the other hand, is perhaps just for fun. The former may be more spiritual while the latter is more of a pursuit of sensual pleasures.
Q: A lot of people consider you to be “an artistic youth” among actors. What do you think?
A: First, just for the record, I am not an artistic youth. (Laughs) Because an artistic youth is cultured and literary and I’m not. I may have the heart to pursue literature and arts but just the intention. Perhaps besides a sensitive heart, I also have a mind that enjoys thinking and imagining. But I’m still lacking in terms of reading and getting wisdom and enlightenment from what I learn.
Q: Who are your favorite writers?
A: I liked to read Yu Hua’s and Haruki Murakami’s books in high school. Later on, I read whatever books people gave me as a gift. I have been reading Mu Xin’s recently. For some books, I read them like school textbooks. For example, at one time, I read Feng Zi Kai’s books, and another time I read Jiang Xun’s because he talks about poems in the Tang and Song Dynasty, about aesthetics. For Mu Xin, I prefer to read his The Memoir of Literature and these days I’m reading Reflection of Colombia.
Q: How did you get to know Mu Xin?
A: I got to know him through A Dream Like a Dream. It was in 2013 when I went to the Wuzhen Theatre Festival for our first show of the play in mainland China. I had been arranged to stay at arguably the best hotel in Wuzhen without staying together with everyone else. I declined the arrangement and insisted on staying together with all the cast and crew. There was a book catching my eye on the bookshelf in the hotel, called Spain Three Trees. The author’s name, Mu Xin, is interesting, too. (Note: It means “wooden heart” in Chinese.) I thumbed through the book. It’s a collection of poems, very special! I took it away without asking. (Laughing out loud)
LOUIS VUITTON 迷彩衝鋒衣、靛藍真絲半袖衫、深藍西褲