How Zhang Hanyu commands Great Wall army

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 13, 2016
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Actor Zhang Hanyu sat down with a reporter for an exclusive interview to share insights regarding his involvement in the most-anticipated movie of the season, "The Great Wall" by Zhang Yimou.

Zhang Hanyu talks to in an interview about his involvement in the new film "The Great Wall" in Beijing, Dec. 7, 2016. [Photo /]

After being cheered by fans at the red carpet, serious-looking Zhang quietly sat down in the interview room, saying he is comfortable being seen by audiences and fans as a "tough guy."

From Feng Xiaogang's "Assembly," Tsui Hark's "The Taking of Tiger Mountain" to Dante Lam's "Operation Mekong," most of Zhang's roles are tough while also touching people's hearts. These films all got big box office rewards and won him many accolades, including several best actor prizes.

"When you are successful in playing certain kinds of roles, audiences will automatically think you fit such roles. This is good because they are thrilled to look at those roles. But of course I'd like to try something else in acting. "

This time, in Zhang Yimou's "The Great Wall," Zhang Hanyu plays a chief commander commanding five mysterious Chinese armies to fight an ancient monster called the Taotie.

"I love body building and I wore armor in a TV series before, so this is easy for me. I didn't have to specially prepare for the film, I would just go and act," he said, adding this is the first time in his career he's collaborated with Zhang Yimou, a director he's admired for a long time.

"He invited me to a dinner and told me what role he wanted me to do; I agreed to join in immediately," he said.

"The Great Wall" is the biggest Chinese film ever made, with a one billion yuan (about US$150 million) budget. But the action-adventure monster film doesn't go too wild in the director's vision. "Although (visual effect of) monster Taotie is cool," the actor said, "everything else is very realistic, from props to set design to costumes."

"The Great Wall" is also an opportunity for Zhang Hanyu to experience collaborating with Hollywood actors and Hollywood production companies.

"My role has interactions with Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoe in the film," Zhang said. "From my point of view, they are very exceptional and professional actors."

"For Hollywood production, I felt everything runs smoothly according to schedule," he commented. "The giant wheel is rolling this way. It is a very industrialized production. You have to meet the precise schedule and demands they set when you are filming."

"The Great Wall" will serve as a cultural vehicle and tourism advertisement for worldwide audiences. "Watching the film, Chinese people, especially the young people, can revisit the splendid culture and civilization China's ancestors created. Foreign audiences will have the urge to come to China and visit the landmark that represents Chinese people's wisdom," Zhang told

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