Cats have nine lives, but 26-year-old Zhejiang province-based actor Shi Zhongpeng has eight. At least, he does as an actor in Chinese movies featuring Japanese villains.
According to Qianjing Evening News via AFP, last year he acted as a member of the Japanese army more than 200 times, dying up to eight times a day — though his biggest wish was to act as a Communist soldier in the Eighth Route Army, which defended China in the Second World War.
Since he couldn’t play a good guy, he settled for the bad:
The secret to being picked by the casting teams, he was quoted as saying, was to “appear as sleazy as possible”, so he adopts a ferocious look at auditions, while stooping slightly.
Hengdian studio, where Shi Zhongpeng works, recorded 150 movies or TV dramas last year. One-third of them were about the anti-Japanese war. AFP reports that out of the 300,000 roles that existed for extras, 60 percent of them were as Japanese soldiers.
Given the ongoing tensions between China and Japan, Shi Zhongpeng may not have trouble finding work for a long time.
China TV extra dies eight times a day as Japanese soldier (AFP via SCMP; the video is unrelated to Shi Zhongpeng, though it does show Japanese characters dying)
Maryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org