Bao Guo'an

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Bao.
Bao Guo'an
Chinese name 鮑國安 (traditional)
Chinese name 鲍国安 (simplified)
Pinyin Bào Guó-ān (Mandarin)
Ancestry Laizhou, Shandong, China
Born June 1946 (age 68)
Tianjin, China
Other name(s) Bao Guoan, Bao Guo An, Bao Guo-an
Occupation Actor, professor
Years active 1983–present

Bao Guo'an (born June 1946) is a Chinese actor and professor in the Central Academy of Drama. Best known for his role as Cao Cao in the 1994 television series Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Bao won two Best Actor awards at the 1995 Golden Eagle Awards and Flying Apsaras Awards.[1][2][3] Bao was also a delegate in the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in 2003.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Bao has been fascinated with acting and drama since he was a child. He attended a primary school in Tianjin where most of his schoolmates were from affluent backgrounds while he was not from a wealthy family. On weekends, his schoolmates watched movies at the cinemas. Bao did not join them initially but he did so later when he felt left out, and became addicted to movies. At the time, Tianjin's cinemas were divided into three classes (A, B and C), with A screening the latest movies but having the priciest tickets. Bao could only afford to watch movies in the B and C class theatres, but he saved the allowance his parents gave him for buying snacks, and spent it at the cinema every weekend. Bao recalled watching many Soviet films at that time, including Chapaev and Lenin in 1918, and he especially enjoyed movies about heroes.

In 1960, at the age of 13, Bao gained an opportunity to appear on screen. Around the time, a performing arts group in Tianjin was making a film about a young revolutionary martyr, Liu Wenxue (刘文学), and Bao was chosen as an actor. In 1964, when the Fourth Agricultural Division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) came to Tianjin to recruit cadres, Bao insisted that they let him join their performing arts group. Bao recalled his experience in the XPCC: "Even though I spent only five years in the Fourth Agricultural Division, I learnt a lot of things. Without this experience, I would not have been able to enter the Central Academy of Drama. Life in the military helped me develop the qualities of diligence, perseverance and courage. They have a great impact on shaping my character and personal beliefs, and on my acting career."[4] Five years later, in 1969, Bao was transferred to another group in Zhumadian, Henan, where he worked as an actor and director.

The Mountain Below is Home[edit]

In 1978, Bao was accepted into the Central Academy of Drama and, due to excellent performance, was asked to remain and teach there after his graduation. Around the time, the Pearl River Film Company (珠江电影制片公司) was holding auditions in Beijing for the film The Mountain Below is Home (山下是故乡). By chance, Bao was acting in a stage play in Beijing when he was noticed by the director Liu Hongming (刘洪铭) and was selected to play the lead character "Chang Mao". Although Bao has been watching movies since childhood, he had no clue to the process behind acting in a film. He requested to be given a chance to personally experience rural life so that he can prepare better for his role. A month before shooting began, the producers sent Bao to the countryside in You County, Hunan, where he lived among villagers and did menial labour. Bao recalled that when he returned home after working on the film for more than half a year, his appearance had changed so much that his son could not recognise him.

The Opium War[edit]

In 1997, Bao was cast as Lin Zexu in Xie Jin's historical epic film The Opium War, which won the 1997 Golden Rooster and the 1998 Hundred Flowers awards for Best Picture. To prepare for the role, Bao travelled to Lin Zexu's hometown of Fuzhou to experience life there. Apart from that, every morning when he woke up, he would imagine himself as Lin Zexu and try to adjust his thoughts and personality to fit his character's.

Zhen Xin[edit]

In 2001, Bao played the lead role in Zhen Xin (真心; True Heart), a biographical film about Wu Dengyun (吴登云; b. 1939), a medical doctor known for helping to improve healthcare in Ulugqat County, Xinjiang.[5] Bao commented, "If Lin Zexu was an example of a firm and assertive hero, then Wu Dengyun is a kind and tender hero."[6] Zhen Xin was shot in the Pamir Mountains at an altitude of 5,000m. Bao suffered from severe high blood pressure and during the descent he had to carried, wearing an oxygen mask and on IV drip. Recalling this incident, he said, "I almost lost my life in making this movie."[7] As Bao was very absorbed into his role, he would feel like crying each time he sees Wu Dengyun, with whom he has developed a close friendship, and when he is reminded of Wu's daughter. He said, "After Wu Dengyun's daughter died, her body was transferred to the morgue in the hospital where Wu Dengyun worked. Every night, he would light a lamp and go to the morgue to see his daughter. This is the "tender" side of the hero Wu Dengyun! Until today it still moves me deeply."[8]

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[edit]

Although Bao has portrayed heroes and protagonists many times on screen, his best known role to date, however, is that of an antagonist — "Cao Cao" in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a 1994 television series based on the classical novel of the same title. Before shooting started, Bao told the producers that he wanted his portrayal of the character to be "answerable to his family and audiences". He was very focused and diligent in preparing for his role, doing extensive research and spending long periods of time pondering over his character. Bao decided not to limit himself to the traditional image of Cao Cao as a villain, so he based his Cao Cao on his personal interpretation of the character in the novel and the Cao Cao described in historical texts. Bao's performance in Romance of the Three Kingdoms propelled him to fame and earned him two Best Actor awards at the 1995 Golden Eagle Awards and Flying Apsaras Awards.[1][2][3] After Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Bao promised himself never to act in historical-themed productions again, but ironically, he found himself receiving and accepting more offers to play historical figures in films and television. He commented on this, "Cao Cao got me overwhelmed!".[9]

Initiating Prosperity[edit]

In 2005, Bao played the tyrannical Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty in the television series Initiating Prosperity (开创盛世; The Opening of an Age of Prosperity).[10] He wanted to reject the offer for the role but found it hard because the director and producers were his old friends. In one scene, the emperor is shown shedding tears when sending off his daughter to a distant land to marry a Tujue leader. Bao recalled that he had never been so emotional in any of his previous projects except for Zhen Xin. Bao commented, "He was an emperor but he was also a person! No matter how bad he was, he was still flesh and blood."[11] Bao later revealed that he had imagined Emperor Yang's daughter as his young granddaughter, so he could not hold back his tears at the thought of his granddaughter leaving him. Bao also explained that he wanted to present a complete, three-dimensional, vivid, and historically accurate portrayal of Emperor Yang, which boils down to his flamboyant costumes, as the emperor was known for his extravagance.

Current work[edit]

Apart from teaching at the Central Academy of Drama as a professor, Bao continues to remain active in the entertainment industry although he hardly plays leading roles now. Bao mentioned that as he grew older he felt that he has become more mature in his career. He once said that an actor should take precautions not to "slip" as age catches up with him, because if he "slips" he would lose his "explosive power" in acting.



Year Title Role Notes
1983 The Mountain Below is Home
Chang Mao
1986 Juece
1997 The Opium War
Lin Zexu
1999 Lingdian Xingdong
2001 Zhen Xin
Wu Dengyun
2004 Jing Zhi Lian
2004 Hai Dian Tie Jun
Li Zihua
2010 Sacrifice
Zhao Dun / Zhao Xuanzi
2011 Shandong Xiongdi


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Outlaws of the Marsh
Song Jiang
1991 Da Tang Ming Xiang
Wei Zheng
1994 Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Cao Cao
1995 Wu Zetian
Emperor Taizong of Tang
1997 Sun Wu
King Liao of Wu
1998 Renjian Zhengdao
Wu Mingxiong
1998 Shuangfeng Qi'an
Du Hanzhang
2000 Di Shi Liu Bowen
Liu Bowen
2000 Nü Qiu
Mr. Liang
2001 Luanshi Taohua
Li Yuan
2001 Bao Gong Shengsi Jie
Bao Zheng
2002 Fengyu Qiankun
Sima Minwang
2002 Ren Da Zhuren
Qi Hengshou
2002 Zhengjiu Shaonian Fan
Bao Wentong
2003 Da Ming Tianzi
Zhu Yuanzhang
2003 Dou E Yuan
Dou Tianzhang
2003 Love Against Kingship
Hong Chengchou
2003 Quanli 2 Luo Xue
Cao Zhong
2003 Changping of the War
King Zhaoxiang of Qin
2004 Ruci Duojiao
Lin Ran
2004 Xinke Zhuangyuan
Bao Zheng
2004 Wu Jian Guang Ying
Xu Nuo
2004 Da Han Bei Ge
Xiao He
2005 Jujue Chengshu
2005 Guojia Jimi
Mr. Xiao
2005 The Rebirth of a King
Wu Zixu
2005 Initiating Prosperity
Emperor Yang of Sui
2005 Ren Changxia
(guest star)
2006 Chuan Zheng Fengyun
Zuo Zongtang
2006 Shu Fengliu Renwu
Lin Ran
2006 Da Huaishu
Zhu Yuanzhang
2006 A Legend of Shaolin Temple
Shaolin abbot
2007 Chuang Ye
Mayor Ye
2007 Da An Zu
Mr. Zhang
2008 Chuang Guandong
Tan Yongqing
2008 Guojia Jimi 2
Mr. Guan
2008 Canghai
Naval officer
2008 The Peacocks Fly to the Southeast
Liu's father
2008 Aomen Dang'an
Fang Tianting
2008 Cangtian Houshi
Shi Xinyuan
2009 Wuliang Tian
Liu Keqian
2010 Bing Shi Shuizhao De Shui
Feng Yunshan
2010 Liu San Jie
Liu Zhiyuan
2010 A Legend of Shaolin Temple 2
Shaolin abbot
2010 Song of Spring and Autumn
Duke Xian of Jin
2010 Xialu Xiongdi
Huang Sidie
2011 Yue Jing
Eighth Route Army commander
2011 Feng He Ri Li
Yin Zegui
2011 Bai Yutang Zhi Ju Wai Ju
Bao Zheng
2011 Mi Zhan E Mei
2011 Jipin Mama
An Yuan
2011 Wu Zetian Yu Longmen
Emperor Taizong of Tang
2011 Chuanqi
King Huiwen of Qin


  1. ^ a b c (Chinese) Bao Guo'an: Performing artist
  2. ^ a b The Opium War The Actors
  3. ^ a b (Chinese) Bao Guo'an's profile on Zhongguo Wenyijia Julebu -- Yihai Qunying (中国文艺家俱乐部--艺海群英)
  4. ^ (尽管我在农四师只工作了五年,却学到了很多东西。没有那段生活,我是考不上中央戏剧学院的。军垦生活培养了我吃苦耐劳、坚韧不拔、勇于奋斗的品质,这对我的个性、人生观的形成和艺术实践产生了很大影响。) (Chinese) Bao Guo'an on Baidu Baike
  5. ^ Wu Dengyun: Devoted Country Doctor
  6. ^ (如果说林则徐代表的是英雄中刚的一面,那么吴登云就是柔情的英雄。) (Chinese) Bao Guo'an on Baidu Baike
  7. ^ (接这个戏差点把命搭上。) (Chinese) Bao Guo'an on Baidu Baike
  8. ^ (吴登云的女儿去世后,尸体被运到他所在医院的太平间,他每天晚上都要点着煤油灯去太平间里转一圈,去看他的女儿。这就是英雄吴登云‘柔’的一面啊!至今深深打动着我。) (Chinese) Bao Guo'an on Baidu Baike
  9. ^ (一个曹操把我害得够呛!) (Chinese) Bao Guo'an on Baidu Baike
  10. ^ (Chinese) 从《开创盛世》到《西风烈》,鲍国安称王称帝
  11. ^ (真是皇帝也是人啊!他再坏也有血有肉。) (Chinese) Bao Guo'an on Baidu Baike

External links[edit]