Caught in the act
Anew Chinese TV show called I Am the Actor has stirred heated discussions on social media. Many Chinese actors and actresses of different ages were invited to present their acting skills on the show. Their performances are rated and given scores by three professional acting mentors who will choose the best to qualify for the next round.
As xiaoxianrou and xiaoxianhua (young Chinese celebrities who are good looking and have large followings but often lack true talent) now occupy most entertainment business resources in China, others who have real acting skills but don’t have an age or appearance advantage often miss out on lucrative opportunities.
For I Am the Actor, many actors and actresses without considerable looks or popularity tend to give the best performances. Ren Suxi, a professional Chinese actress with an ordinary appearance, impressed the audience so much that some were moved to tears. Xu Zheng, one of the acting mentors, said this show creates a good spring board for talented yet under-appreciated actors and actresses like Ren.
With this in mind, the Global Times spoke with several foreigners in Shanghai about their opinions of the domestic and international entertainment industries to gauge if looks and popularity are universally more important than true talent.
Petrov, a 25-year-old copywriter from Serbia, told the Global Times that he mostly watches Hollywood or Japanese films. “I don’t know the name of the actress in Maborosi [a Japanese film], but her performance was astounding. She doesn’t speak many lines in the movie. She’s mostly quiet, but her face says a lot.”
Tobias from Germany said he appreciates inspiring actors like Harrison Ford (from Star Wars) and Tom Cruise (from
Mission: Impossible). Eoin, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Ireland, said he likes Liam Neeson and Leonardo DiCaprio because the characters they play often leave a good impression on him.
Immersed in movies
Russian national Kseniia, a big fan of comedy films, said Milla Jovovich, a Ukraine-born actress who became a star in the US, impresses her the most. Rao, a 25-year-old American, said he really likes Hugh Grant, the well-known British actor from romantic film Notting Hill. Rao told the Global Times that Grant’s acting skills as well as the way he portrays himself are both really impressive.
In recent years, many young Chinese actors and actresses with gorgeous faces and large social media followings have been criticized by audiences for their obvious inability to act. Some never receive professional acting training before becoming huge stars. But do foreign countries have the same trend in their respective entertainment industries?
Petrov thinks that Serbian actor Nebojsa Glogovac, who passed away in February 2018, had a true talent for acting. “He doesn’t look like a superstar. He looks like a normal man, but his face contains a lot of emotion,” said Petrov.
Tobias said he doesn’t know many German actors except for Matthias Schweighöfer, who stars in comedic films. “I like to see him interact with other actors, also with his female counterparts, in these movies.”
Eoin is not sure who is the best actor in Ireland, but he referred to Liam Neeson from Schindler’s List. Eoin said that when true actors act, they can take control of the character and let the audience immerse themselves in the movie.
Kseniia Eoin Petrov