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)
Born (1946-06-04) 4 June 1946 (age 70)
Tianjin, China
Other name(s) Bao Guoan, Bao Guo An, Bao Guo-an
Occupation Actor, professor
Years active 1983–present
Ancestry Laizhou, Shandong, China

Bao Guo'an (born 4 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 be 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 English title Chinese title Role Notes
1983 Hometown at the Foot of the Mountain 山下是故乡 Chang Mao
1986 Decision 决策
1997 The Opium War 鴉片戰爭 Lin Zexu
1999 Zero O'Clock Action 零点行动 Wei Feng
2001 True Love 真心 Wu Dengyun
2002 The Love of a Policewoman 警之恋 TV film
2003 The Injustice to Dou E 竇娥冤 Dou Tianzhang TV film
2004 Invincible Army of Nuclear Power 核电铁军 Li Zihua TV film
2010 Sacrifice 趙氏孤兒 Zhao Dun
2012 The Legend of Mao Sui 毛遂傳奇 King Kaolie of Chu
2013 Shandong Brothers 山东兄弟 Professor Wang
To the Sea 山外是海 Old Shen
TBA Nezha 大鬧東海 Dragon King

TV dramas[edit]

Year English title Original title Role Notes
1984 Outlaws of the Marsh 水滸傳 Song Jiang
1991 The Great Prime Minister of Tang 大唐名相 Wei Zheng
1994 Romance of the Three Kingdoms 三國演義 Cao Cao
1995 Wu Zetian 武則天 Emperor Taizong of Tang
1997 Sun Wu 孫武 King Liao of Wu
1998 Law of This World 人间正道 Wu Mingxiong
The Strange Case of Double Phoenix 雙鳳奇案 Du Hanzhang
1999 Female Prisoners 女囚 Liang Tianyu
2000 The Emperor's Teacher, Liu Bowen 帝師劉伯溫 Liu Bowen
2001 Peach Flowers in a Turbulent Age 亂世桃花 Li Yuan
Lord Bao's Life and Death Calamity 包公生死劫 Bao Zheng
2002 Wind, Rain, Heaven and Earth 风雨乾坤 Sima Minwang
The Director of People's Congress 人大主任 Qi Hengshou
Rescuing Juvenile Offenders 拯救少年犯 Bao Wentong
2003 The Affaire in the Swing Age 江山風雨情 Hong Chengchou
Naked Snow 裸雪 Cao Zhong
Changping of the War 鐵血長平 King Zhaoxiang of Qin
2004 So Rich in Beauty 如此多嬌 Lin Ran
The Execution of Chen Shimei 新鍘美案 Bao Zheng
Undercover Light and Shadow 无间光影 Xu Nuo
2005 The Emperor of Great Ming 大明天子 Hongwu Emperor
Refusing Maturity 拒绝成熟 Scribe
National Secret 国家机密 Mr. Xiao
The Rebirth of a King 越王勾踐 Wu Zixu
Initiating Prosperity 開創盛世 Emperor Yang of Sui
Ren Changxia 任长霞
2006 The Naval Story 船政風雲 Zuo Zongtang
For Truly Great Men 数风流人物 Lin Ran
Big Locust Tree 大槐树 Hongwu Emperor
A Legend of Shaolin Temple 少林寺傳奇 Shaolin abbot
2007 The Legend of Xin Zhui 辛追傳奇 Xiao He
Major Case Squad 大案组 Mr. Zhang
2008 Pathfinding to the Northeast 闖關東 Tan Yongqing
The Peacocks Fly to the Southeast 孔雀東南飛 Liu's father
2009 Venture 创业 Mayor Ye
Broad Sky, Boundless Land 苍天厚土 Shi Xinyuan
Wuliang Sky 无量天 Liu Keqian
Oriental Casablanca 東方卡薩布蘭卡 Fang Tianting
2010 Ice Is Water Asleep 冰是睡着的水 Feng Yunshan
Liu Sanjie 劉三姐 Liu Zhiyuan
A Legend of Shaolin Temple 2 少林寺傳奇2 Shaolin abbot
Song of Spring and Autumn 春秋祭 Duke Xian of Jin
2011 Brother Foes 狹路兄弟 Huang Sidie
Wonder Mom 极品妈妈 An Yuan
2012 Sunny 风和日丽 Yin Zegui
Secret Battles in Emei 密戰峨嵋 Wu Shi
Clever Little Kongkong 聰明小空空 abbot
Crossing the Border 越境 army commander
Special Arms 利刃出鞘 Gao Shiwei
2013 Sleek Rat, the Challenger 白玉堂之局外局 Bao Zheng
2015 History's Mission 歷史的使命 Tang Guanhong
The Legend of Li Bing 李冰傳奇 King Huiwen of Qin
2016 The Identity of Father 父親的身份 Zhang Hanmin
TBA Wu Zetian and Longmen 武則天與龍門 Emperor Taizong of Tang
A Legend of Shaolin Temple 4 少林寺傳奇4 abbot


  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 Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  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]