Wang Kai Life Weekly Magazine Interview 
Translated by: Breeze
Edited by: Eleanor
|By Lin Zai, 5/2/16, Life Weekly (Volume: 1625) (WeChat contact: lifeweekly1925, please contact if reposted and credit)
[Editor’s note: The “You” in the title is Wang Kai referring to his fans]
We can always find some similar characteristics between Wang Kai and the characters he plays. It would be good if he could act as himself in dramas, however, most of the time, the characters have nothing to do with him at all. In order to act more vividly, he would live in the character’s life during the period of shooting the drama. Wang Kai’s story is also like a drama with ups and downs. But no matter what burden he has carried, he can always keep his initial heart—acting “truly” to himself in front of and behind scenes.
Acts through the Eyes, Plays Himself in His Roles
In Ode To Joy, broadcast on Dragon TV, Wang Kai played the role Zhao Qiping who is a serious and conscientious orthopedic surgeon at work and a funny, merry-making man in life. “Just like you and me in everyday life, everybody is different. Everyone has multi-personalities. Doctor Zhao shows the ultimate in this perspective.” Although Dr. Zhao doesn’t appear much in this drama, his love battle with the rich girl played by Wang Ziwen is in hot debate. The two characters’ interaction is as fierce as thunder and fire, seeing each other’s tricks through their eyes.
Wang Kai told us that he was worried about acting as such a “serious and frivolous” Dr. Zhao because he has played serious characters quite often. Director Kong Sheng once advised, “Act yourself! Look how relaxed you are when you drink.” It’s unknown how relaxed Wang Kai is while he is drinking, but from Dr. Zhao’s expression of his toothless smile and pondering eyes, the audience can read more meaning besides just the lines of dialogue.
In order to act the affable Dr. Zhao well, Wang Kai resonates with the character and with himself as well. “Ode To Joy gave us a lot of power, you can see the beauty and ugliness of the society. Both exist in real life. We have to learn and think about how to face both pleasant and bad things.” Acting is like “come and go through different lives”. He acts using his own life experience and experiences his life in his characters.
Even though Wang Kai had a very limited number of appearances in Ode To Joy, he could still attract your attention. However, Wang Kai was not born to be an actor. Looking back on his past works, you can see that he has grown from drama to drama. Compared to talent, effort is what Wang Kai believes in more. He does comprehensive preparation for each work and explores the emotions of the character. If there’s something that he had not experienced before, he would try to experience it; if it’s something that he had experienced, he would try his best to think back and experience it again. “Sometimes the character needs you to walk into it with devotion. Only in that way can you perform well.”
Except for his good memory of the lines and accurate acting of each character, Wang Kai’s most excellent acting skill is in his eyes. You can feel the loneliness in Shi Taipu’s glance back in Green Hill Fox Legend and you can see the forbearance in Xiao Jingyan’s glare filled with with anger in Nirvana In Fire; Fang Mengwei’s tears contains the patriotism of the nation in All Quiet In Peking; Ming Cheng’s eyes hide slyness and wisdom in The Disguiser. Only when each character lives in his heart, can he act them out through the eyes.
Singing, entertainment, celebrity branding, etc. and the popularity brought him more opportunities, but he knows what he wants: acting is always his priority. “Even if I’m super busy, I will not film two dramas at the same time because I think that will be irresponsible to both.” If you respect the film, the film will respect you. In 2016, Wang Kai will occupy the screen again. Stay With Me, and When a Snail Falls in Love have been scheduled to broadcast.
People like to describe Wang Kai as “become famous overnight” for his name went from being unknown to well known in a very short time. His earlier sissy character was brought up to compare with his current upright youth character, which also proves that he is quite plastic in different roles. Even more, his hands, shoulder and some other parts of his body were brought up in heated discussion to prove his capacity to make the audience’s hearts melt. Some regretted that they could not know him earlier, but they feel grateful that they know him now. However, he clearly knows that without the foundation of his early experience, he would not become the Wang Kai of today with such popularity. “Without much life experience, you won’t have much inspiration, nor will you have enough thoughts to understand some parts of the drama.”
Most of the time, people only see the result instead of the process. There are people who became famous overnight, but Wang Kai is not among them. All the appreciation of Wang Kai that he achieved today was from his efforts. Just like the red wine, which he likes to drink, it has to go through fermentation process slowly, step by step, to be brewed into high quality wine. The longer the process is, the more delicious it will be. The quantitative change and the qualitative change transform mutually at the same time. Maybe now it’s the right time to open this bottle of wine named “Actor Wang Kai”.
Life is drama, Act Yourself Well
There are many celebrities who deleted all their earlier posts on Weibo after they became famous and had a huge increase of their Weibo followers. They wish to start over and build a public image that is expected by the audience. However, Wang Kai kept all his posts including some funny ones. He never wanted to hide anything. He shows his true self to everyone.
People with the Leo sign are stubborn and have their own rules. He was never moved by popularity. For instance, he doesn’t want his fans to meet him at private places or at the airport because it’s dangerous for the fans and it interferes with his personal life. He will never compromise on this. Some may think that he is too serious about it because everyone does it. But he insisted on keeping his bottom line. He once said, “There are some inappropriate things, and I hope you all keep calm and don’t be too crazy.” In fact, everyone likes popularity, but Wang Kai knows what is “correct”. When he heard that the product, which he speaks for, was sold out, he was not proud. On the contrary, he suggested the fans shop as needed and be reasonable, “Purchase as you need. Please don’t waste if you don’t need them. ”
Although he didn’t speak for brands on purpose, Wang Kai is favored by a lot of famous brands. Film crews, media and the cooperation staff who have worked with him like him very much because of his loyalty and easygoing personality, and he cooperates well with other workers. It’s very difficult to find a celebrity who doesn’t put on airs to show off. So who wouldn’t like Wang Kai? Many entertainment journalists expressed that they enjoyed talking to Wang Kai who reacts quickly. No matter how wired and trappy the questions were, he was able to answer with highlights. The answers were properly and logically arranged, full of wit and humor. Sometimes he even created gags himself. However, it doesn’t mean that he was well trained to do so. On the contrary, it presents his own way of surviving in the entertainment circle. He says whatever he would like to say and he will not put on a good face on purpose. With his too “upright” personality, he doesn’t look like a star. For example, there was one time in an interview, he mentioned that he would like to try acting in a role of a perverted gentleman. When we asked him if there were any film crew that came to him for this kind of role, he told us directly and felt embarrassed, “That was a pushed answer. They asked me to name one, I didn’t know what to say, so I said that one.”
However, there’s always burden under fame. Most posts on Wang Kai’s weibo are about work, less about his life. He sometimes checks the reviews and messages left by his fans and posts jokes to interact with them. The fans said that he doesn’t know how to take selfies, so he wrote “Selfie” on a paper as a substitute for his face; Dr. Zhao was regarded as an “old driver” on the road of love, Wang Kai pretended as he didn’t understand it and said that he had been driving for 10 years, of course he’s an old driver.
Being so honest and frank, he makes himself more attractive in the entertainment circle. Less tricks and more sincerity, in the role of “Star Wang Kai”, there’s no need for exaggerated acting. To be modest and kind, and act his true self is good enough.
Flowers will wither away and applaud will fade. Popularity and heat will pass. In such entertainment circles with rapid generation replacement, Wang Kai knows that excellent work and solid behavior are the only foundation of his foothold. To take off the pomp and reach for the real, and keep his initial heart can make him the person who deserves the “small stream flows far”. [Editor’s note: this is a phrase often used by the Wang Fei. It basically means: “love me little, love me long”. See the WKI glossary under X for more info]
Behind the Scenes
At the Ode To Joy presentation, Liu Tao disclosed that there was a period of time she told everyone she met that “Do you know that Wang Kai has to drink before he films kissing scenes?” Moreover, she heard that Wang Ziwen once said loudly to Wang Kai on the set, “Wang Kai, how dare you not open your mouth when we shoot kissing scenes tomorrow!” Wang Kai defended himself by saying “We’ve been friends for years. I cannot do it. I was respecting her. I didn’t know her needs until we finished.” He said after hearing Wang Ziwen’s words, “I know now, please don’t blame me in the next season.”