Growing up poor
Among China’s young actors, Chen Kun stands out with his cool appearance. Because of the variety of roles he has played as well as his talents in both acting and singing, this handsome actor has become one of the most popular stars in China.
Chen was born in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality and grew up in a single-parent family. As the eldest of three boys in the family, he had been independent since childhood.
When he was still a high school student, Chen started working in his spare time to help his family. He worked as a typist in a printing house and a waiter in a nightclub. Hardships never depressed Chen, but strengthened him and left him optimistic, which later helped him in his acting.
A gifted singer, Chen’s talents were recognized by a music teacher who recommended him to the China National Song and Dance Ensemble in 1995. In 1996, Chen was admitted to the Beijing Film Academy, where his acting career started.
Chen described himself as lucky. “When I graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 2000, I only expected to make a living through acting. But I have had many good opportunities,” he said.
“Many people complain a lot about life’s pressures, while I take a very calm attitude towards life. Enjoy life and enjoy work, that’s my motto.”
Filming in Tibet
Chen is currently shooting Song of Cloud and Water, an art film featuring love and patriotism during the Chinese revolutionary wars. In the leading role, Chen moves from teacher to military doctor.
“The film is a big challenge for me, as I have to portray the maturing process of the character over 20 years,” said Chen. As a lot of the film’s scenes are set in Tibet, Chen is also challenged physically by the high altitude.
After finishing the film, Chen expects to work with Li Shaohong, an established woman director, on another movie project this year.
In the ongoing Golden Horse Film Festival, which opened in Taipei on November 4, Chen was nominated for best leading actor for A West Lake Moment, in which he played the role of a director and editor. He was picked for his portrayal of the inner world of a young man, who is seen as love-seeking and idealistic but not easily satisfied.
“The Golden Horse awards are among the highest in Asia, and I feel honored to be nominated. But I think there is little chance for me to win,” he said.
Despite the praise he has received in the past few years, Chen still regards himself as an ordinary young person.
“I have some strong points, but I have many weak points as well. I’m different from many other people only because I’m in a special profession, which exposes my life to the public,” he commented.
“As a public figure, I try to keep a good image. But out of the public eye, I live an ordinary life, like other people my age.”