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"Mao Zedong Actress" Astonishes Chengdu Citizens
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It is not uncommon to see actors play late Chinese leader Mao Zedong on screen. But have you ever thought a woman would be good for the role?

Jianghuai Morning News has reported a 51-year-old woman, Chen Yan from Mianyang in southwestern Sichuan Province, has astonished people with her uncanny resemblance to the former Chinese leader.

Chen Yan startled pedestrians when she impersonated Chairman Mao on Chunxi Road, one of the most crowded commercial streets in Chengdu. Most onlookers thought the costumed Chen Yan looked considerably like the leader.

Chen Yan said at first she only wanted to imitate the acclaimed Chinese actor Tang Guoqiang. But one of her friends, who works as a dresser for a local performance group, suggested she imitate Mao Zedong since she looks more like him.

She said although her facial features are fairly similar to Mao Zedong's, she still needs to don "special makeup," which takes at least four hours and costs 2,000 yuan each time.

The pair of leather shoes worn by Chen Yan also attracted attention. They are tailor-made and heightened by 30 centimeters in the heels, making both Chen Yan look taller and it more difficult for her to walk.

To achieve the perfect effect, Chen Yan has also taken on a notorious habit of the late leader – smoking. Though she had never smoked before, she was determined to become the first "Mao Zedong actress."

But Chen Yan's family did not support her decision. They worried audiences would not be able to accept a "Mao Zedong actress." But the government of Mianyang expressed their support of Chen Yan's vision, making her much more confident about her acting career. Now, Chen Yan is well-known among residents in Mianyang.

Chen Yan insists she is not pretentious and that her acting is not nonsense; rather, she hopes to be accepted by audiences.

Approval for film and TV productions involving Chinese leaders is very strict in China. Besides getting the OK from the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, actors must also get approval from the leaders'relatives.
(CRI.cn March 28, 2007)


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