Wang Kai (actor)

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Wang Kai
Chinese name 王凯
Born (1982-08-18) August 18, 1982 (age 35)
Wuhan, Hubei Province, China
Other names Nick Wang
Alma mater Central Academy of Drama
Occupation Actor
Years active 2006–present
Nationality Han
Voice type(s) Baritone
Label(s) Daylight Entertainment Television Ltd.
Wang Kai
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Wang Kai (born 18 August 1982) is a Chinese actor. He is known for his television roles in All Quiet in Peking (2014), The Disguiser (2015), Nirvana in Fire (2015), Ode to Joy (2016), When a Snail Falls in Love (2016), and Stay With Me (2016), as well as his film role in The Devotion of Suspect X.

Early life and education[edit]

Wang was born in Wuhan in Hubei Province. Although he wanted to become an actor after performing Thunderstorm in school, his father wanted him to do sports while his mother wanted him to find a stable job.[1] As a result, he worked as a book porter at Xinhua Bookstore after high school. During his free time, he took on side jobs such as attending activities organized by TV stations, taking model-training courses, and shooting commercials. In 2002, during the shooting of a commercial, the director suggested Wang attend an acting academy. Wang resigned from his job and moved to Shanghai to take courses on acting at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in 2002. The next year, he applied for the Beijing Film Academy and the Central Academy of Drama. Wang received offers from both academies, and chose to attend the latter.[2]

Career[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

While a student at the Central Academy of Drama, Wang received his first acting role in Cold Autumn (2006), upon recommendation of his professor Zhang Xiaolong.[3] In 2006, he participated in his first film My Puppy My Love (2012), an animal movie which focuses on dogs.[4][5]

In 2007, Wang graduated from the Central Academy of Drama and signed with Huayi Brothers. During his first year with Huayi, he received no roles except for a minor role in Water Point Peach Blossom by Ma Lujian, the director of Cold Autumn. He also had a minor role in the romantic comedy drama Calling For Love. As the series would be aired in Taiwan, he learned to speak with a Taiwanese accent for the role.[6][7]

2008–13: Breaking into television[edit]

Wang's first breakthrough in the industry was his casting in Ugly Wudi, adapted from the American comedy series Ugly Betty. The TV series was a commercial success, with the all four seasons being the highest viewed TV show in its time slot.[8] Although he tried out for the male lead, he was instead offered the role of Chen Jiaming, a sassy advertising director.[9] Wang continued to play the role for all four seasons of the series’ run between 2008 and 2010. While filming Ugly Wudi, he left Huayi Brothers and signed with Ugly Wudi’s production company, Nesound International.[4]

After the success of Ugly Wudi, Wang found himself offered roles similar to his role in the series. Unwilling to be typecast, he rejected them all. Finally, he was offered the role of the a rugged and uneducated youth in Youth (2012).[10][11] He then starred in New Detective Squad (2013), a Republican-era detective series loosely based on The Three Heroes and Five Gallants.[12] The series had high viewership in mainland China and developed a small cult following online.[13][14]

2014–2015: Mainstream success[edit]

In 2013, with the disbandment of Nesound’s management department, Wang joined Shandong Television & Film. His first role under the company was a police officer in the critically acclaimed historical drama All Quiet in Peking, which was released in 2014.[15] This marked a turning point in his career. Wang was praised for his ability to hold his own against multiple acclaimed veteran actor.[16] The same year, he starred in the historical film, A Murder Beside Yanhe River, where he plays a Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army officer who becomes a murder suspect.[17] The film premiered in December 2014, and Wang received his first acting award, the Best New Actor Award at the 9th Chinese Youth Film Forum for his performance in the film.[18]

In December 2014, when Hou Hongliang resigned from Shandong Film & Television to focus on Daylight Entertainment Ltd., Wang left with him for Daylight Entertainment.[19] He then starred in three television series produced by Daylight Entertainment: Nirvana in Fire, The Disguiser, and Love Me If You Dare. Wang played a loyal and capable triple agent in The Disguiser, the neglected prince Xiao Jingyan who climbs his way to the throne with the help of his best friend in Nirvana in Fire and the protagonist's best friend in Love Me, If You Dare.[20][21][22] All three dramas were critical and commercial successes, and Wang received acclaim for his versatile acting.[23][24][25]

Following the airing of these dramas, Wang experienced a sharp rise in popularity.[26][9][27] He was nominated for the Best Actor award at the Huading Awards and Shanghai Television Festival for his performance in The Disguiser and Nirvana in Fire respectively, and won the Best Supporting Actor award at the Asia Rainbow TV Awards. Wang had become a regular in both magazines and fashion events, and also received several endorsement deals.[28][29][30][31][32]

2016–present[edit]

In 2016, he featured in metropolitan romance drama Ode to Joy.[33] Although he did not appear until episode 11, Wang in association with the show was one of the most discussed topics on social medias.[34] He reunited with his Ode to Joy co-star Wang Ziwen in crime thriller When a Snail Falls in Love, adapted from Ding Mo's novel of the same name.[35] The drama was a hit with local and overseas audience, and received 9.8 out 10 score on viki.com.[25] The same year, Wang starred alongside Joe Chen in romance drama Stay with Me[36] and starred in Jackie Chan's action comedy film Railroad Tigers.[37]

In 2017, Wang starred in The Devotion of Suspect X, adapted from the Japanese novel of the same name.[38] The film was a box office success.[39] The same year, he was announced to be playing Cao Cao in the upcoming film adaptation of popular RPG game Dynasty Warriors.[40]

In 2018, Wang starred in A Better Tomorrow 2018, directed by Ding Sheng and a remake of the original classic.[41] He is set to return to the small screen with the period drama Like a Flowing River, based on the novel Da Jiang Da He written by A Nai and set during Chinese economic reform in 1978.[42]

Other activities[edit]

In February 2016, Wang co-founded Deshe Entertainment (Tianjin) Ltd. The company’s co-investor is Daylight Entertainment, and its legal representative is Hou Hongliang.[43]

Social[edit]

Wang was part of Han Hong's charity campaign to provide medical assistance in Gansu.[44] He was made ambassador of "1219 Long Love" public event in Beijing,[45] Estée Lauder Companies's Greater China's Breast Cancer Awareness Pink ribbon program[46] and appointed the Traffic Safety Ambassador for Beijing.[47]

Aside from his own activities, Wang's fans also made news in China for donating various roads in disadvantaged areas in the name of his characters,[48] including Ming Cheng, Xiao Jingyan, Fang Mengwei, Qi Yong, and Liu Chengzhi.[49]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year English Title Chinese Title Role Notes
2012 My Puppy My Love 我的狗狗我的爱 Shi Luwei
2013 A Young Girl's Destiny 逆袭 Hao Chen [50]
2014 The Golden Era 黄金时代 Jin Yi [51]
A Murder Beside Yanhe River 黄克功案件 Huang Kegong
2016 Railroad Tigers 铁道飞虎 Fan Chuan
2017 The Devotion of Suspect X 嫌疑人X的献身 Tang Chuan
2018 A Better Tomorrow 2018 英雄本色2018 Zhou Kai
2019 Dynasty Warriors 真三国无双 Cao Cao

Television series[edit]

Year English Title Chinese Title Role Notes
2006 Cold Autumn 寒秋 Huang Yuanshang
2008 Water Point Peach Blossom 围屋里的桃花 Xu Yilin
2008-2010 Ugly Wudi 丑女无敌 Chen Jiaming
2010 Calling For Love 呼叫大明星 Wang Rui
2011 Guns Hou 枪炮侯 Dai Dao [52]
2012 Youth 知青 Qi Yong
2013 New Detective Squad 新神探联盟 Gongsun Ze
2014 All Quiet in Peking 北平无战事 Fang Mengwei
2015 Waiting For You 等你爱我 Qu He [53]
Once Upon a Time in Tsingtao 青岛往事 Liu Chengzhi [54]
The Disguiser 伪装者 Ming Cheng
Nirvana in Fire 瑯琊榜 Xiao Jingyan, Prince Jing
Love Me If You Dare 他来了,请闭眼 Li Xunran
2016 Legend of Nine Tails Fox 青丘狐传说 Shi Taipu [55]
Half the Sky 女人的天空 Wu Dawei [56]
Ode to Joy 欢乐颂 Zhao Qiping
When a Snail Falls in Love 如果蜗牛有爱情 Ji Bai
Stay with Me 放弃我,抓紧我 Chen Yidu
2017 Ode to Joy 2 欢乐颂2 Zhao Qiping [57]
2018 Like a Flowing River 大江大河 Song Yunhui

Variety show[edit]

Year English Title Chinese Title Role Notes
2014 Crazy Star Travel 疯狂星旅行 Cast member [58]
2016 Crossover Singer 跨界歌王 Contestant [59][60]
Fighting Man 我们战斗吧 Cast member [61]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year English Title Chinese Title Album Length Notes
2013 "Exploration of the World" 探世界 New Detective Squad OST 5:06
2015 "Loyal Blood Forever Runs Red" 赤血长殷 Nirvana in Fire OST 4:45
2016 "Big Brother" 大哥 Railroad Tigers OST 4:22 with Darren Wang, Wu Yonglun & Sang Ping
"Playing My Beloved Folk Lute" 弹起我心爱的土琵琶 3:49

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2014 9th Chinese Young Generation Film Forum Awards Best New Actor A Murder Beside Yanhe River Won [18]
2015 7th China TV Drama Awards Rising Actor Award N/A Won [62]
Most Popular Actor (Mainland China) Nirvana in Fire Won
2016 28th Golden Eagle Awards Best Actor All Quiet in Peking Nominated
19th Huading Awards Best Actor The Disguiser Nominated
22nd Shanghai Television Festival Best Supporting Actor Nirvana in Fire Nominated
3rd Asia Rainbow TV Awards Best Supporting Actor Won [63]

References[edit]

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