by meridian, October 10, 2019
16

Hu Ge has been one of the most popular actors in China for over a decade and has begun another essential chapter in his career by making a serious foray into the world of film. As he transitions to the big screen, here is a look back at his works and the man himself.

T H E    B A S I C S

Birthday:  20th September 1982

Birthplace:  Xuhui District, Shanghai

Height:  1.85m

Weight:  70kg

Blood type:  O

Hobbies: Photography, Traveling

Pets: 5 cats

Social media:  Weibo

Hu Ge was extremely introverted as a child. His parents worried that this might put him at a disadvantage growing up so, in 1989, they sent him to the most famous children's performing arts group in Shanghai at that time, the Shanghai Little Star. This was Hu Ge's first exposure to acting, and it led to his very first job, an appearance in the music video Ai De Feng Xian when he was only eight years old. In middle school, Hu Ge was the head of the school's radio station, choir, and student drama troupe. He hosted the popular TV show Sunshine Youth on the Shanghai TV education channel when he was 14 and in the same year, performed in the stage play The Story of the Red Handkerchief produced by the Children's Palace theater group. His performance won him the first prize for stage work at the 2nd Shanghai Student Arts Festival. In addition to his commercial work, Hu Ge was also an excellent student academically.

In 2001, Hu Ge received offers from the Central Academy of Drama and the Shanghai Theater Academy. His offer from the Central Academy of Drama was for directing while the Shanghai Theater Academy was for acting. Hu Ge had developed an interest in shooting commercials and was recommended to study directing for this purpose. However, his work in Shanghai had gained him some local fame that allowed him to have a source of income. Thus he accepted the offer from the Shanghai Theater Academy so that he did not have to worry about living expenses and went down the acting route.

T H E    R O A D    T O    S T A R D O M

When Hu Ge was still in drama school, he was scouted by Tangren Media agency and immediately signed on. This got him a couple of small roles in films as well as his first leading role in a television series, Dandelion. In his third year, he went to test screen for a supporting role in Chinese Paladin, an adaptation of a video game. Coincidentally, the creator of the game was at the screen test and noticed how much Hu Ge fit his image of Li Xiao Yao. Because of this, the producers decided to cast Hu Ge as the main character.

Chinese Paladin was broadcast on the 24th of January 2005 to tremendous reception, and Hu Ge's portrayal of the bubbly and emotional Li Xiao Yao turned him into a television star overnight. He also sang two of the show's theme songs: Liu Yue De Yu and Xiao Yao Tan. He followed his success with leading roles in dramas such as The Little Fairy and The Young Warriors which garnered impressive ratings, cementing his status as one of the most popular new actors in the television drama scene.

Li Xiao Yao (Chinese Paladin)
Hu Ge was still in his third year of drama school when he filmed Chinese Paladin. He didn't have time to dub his scenes because he had to return to his classes.
Yang Yan Zhao (The Young Warriors)
Hu Ge and Yuan Hong, his co-star and close friend, would play video games together after a hard day's work on the set of The Young Warriors.

In 2006, Hu Ge won the Most Popular Mainland Chinese Actor and Most Promising Mainland Chinese Newcomer awards at the 2nd Television Storm Awards ceremony (now known as the China TV Drama Awards).

T H E    A C C I D E N T

On the 29th of August 2006, while still shooting The Legend of the Condor Heroes, Hu Ge was involved in a life-changing car accident on the Shanghai-Hangzhou expressway. Hu Ge spent six and a half hours in surgery and had more than 100 stitches all over his body. He sustained severe damage to the right side of his face, right eye as well as a deep cut in his neck that had exposed his artery. Although his driver escaped with minor injuries, his assistant, Zhang Mian, who was also a good friend, did not survive the accident.

Hu Ge never expected to return to acting after the accident. Still, because the production team of The Legend of the Condor Heroes were willing to wait for his return, he felt a responsibility to complete the shoot. The author of the original Condor Heroes' novel series, Jin Yong, also wrote a poem supporting his recovery. Hu Ge underwent bone correction and skin graft surgeries in Hong Kong and Korea to repair his face.

It took almost a whole year for Hu Ge to recover and on the 22nd of June 2007, he made his first formal appearance since the accident, announcing his official return to work. The accident left Hu Ge with scars above his right eye and on his right cheek.

In recent interviews where Hu Ge reflects on the impact of this experience, he revealed that it was a challenging period when he came back from the accident as he struggled with uncertainty, insecurity and often hid his scars with a fringe over the right side of his face. He did not like talking about the accident even though it was a constant topic in his interviews. He has since come to terms with what happened and is no longer unwilling to discuss the accident; neither does he hide his scars anymore.

T H E    C O M E B A C K

After his recovery, Hu Ge immediately returned to the set of The Legend of the Condor Heroes. To maintain consistency, a considerable amount of effort was spent on makeup and lighting to conceal the scars on his face. It made for a stressful shoot for Hu Ge, who was doubtful if he could continue to be an actor. However, the success of the production proved to be the affirmation that he needed. The Legend of the Condor Heroes enjoyed very high ratings in many regions and the annual report on the Chinese entertainment industry; the series was rated the third-best of 2008.

Hu Ge followed this success in 2009 with Chinese Paladin 3, another series that had topped ratings on several networks. In 2010, he starred in the epic time-travel historical drama The Myth. According to CCTV, The Myth achieved the highest rating of 4.13% for a single episode, a record that has yet to be broken in CCTV8's broadcasting history. Hu Ge won Best Actor in a Fantasy series at the 4th Huading Awards for his performance as Yi Xiao Chuan.

Guo Jing (Legend of the Condor Heroes)
In a 2018 interview, Hu Ge mentioned that he would like to tell a story like Guo Jing's when asked what sort of parting story he would like to tell about his own life.
Yi Xiao Chuan / Meng Yi (The Myth)
Hu Ge did all of the fighting stunts on horseback by himself. Unfortunately, he fell off his horse on one occasion and injured his arm. He was sent to hospital but resumed filming immediately after he was discharged.
Zha Xi Ping Cuo (Shangri-La)
While shooting the horse race scene, Hu Ge dislocated his arm when his horse stumbled and fell.
Yuwen Tuo (Xuan Yuan Sword)

Hu Ge was offered the role of Jing Chou. Still, because of the similarity of the character to Li Xiao Yao, he did not want to repeat himself and decided to play the antagonistic Yuwen Tuo instead.

In 2010, Hu Ge started to experiment with different character types and genres. He began to accept roles in modern dramas like Bitter Coffee and Unbeatable in an attempt to break out of being typecast as a period drama actor. He also picked characters that did not fit the typical hero archetype such as the horse thief Zha Xi Ping Cuo in Shangri-La and the anti-hero Yuwen Tuo in Xuan Yuan Sword: Scar of the Sky. Shangri-La won the Outstanding Television Series award at the National Top-Notch Television Production Awards.

T H E    A C T O R

Unwilling to stop improving, Hu Ge reached a phase where he was redefining himself as an actor. To do that, he went back to the stage to immerse himself in the fundamentals of acting. In 2013, Hu Ge appeared in  A Dream Like a Dream, an eight-hour play directed by Lai Sheng Chuan that tackles issues relating to life and death. Hu Ge played the part of patient #5, and for his performance, he won Best Actor at the Beijing Denny International Stage Performance Awards. His next stage endeavour was as the lead in The Eternal Snow Beauty,  a play adapted from Bai Xian Yong's novels about Shanghai in the '30s and '40s with lines spoken in the Shanghainese dialect. His work on stage not only provided him with the opportunity to hone his skills but also gave him what he wanted, and that was to be purely an actor.

In 2014, Hu Ge returned to television with three distinctly different shows: Life Revelation, Sound of the Desert and 49 Days Sacrifice. His performance in 49 Days Sacrifice earned him his first Magnolia award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In the same year, he was recognized at the Seoul International Drama Awards and the China TV Drama Awards for his popular role in Life Revelation.

Bao Jia Ming (Life Revelation)
Hu Ge and Yan Ni became good friends after filming this drama, and he had credited her for helping him a lot at the time when he was trying to improve himself as an actor.
Dai Tao (49 Days Sacrifice)
Zhang Jia Yi, the lead in 49 Days Sacrifice, mentioned that Hu Ge was probably the one actor who treasured his time the most on this production as he never had a chance to play a character like this before.
T H E    R I S E    T O    N E W    H E I G H T S

2015 could be said to be Hu Ge's year in television. For one, he was constantly present on the small screen thanks to three dramas that aired consecutively throughout the year: Good Times, The Disguiser and Nirvana in Fire. All three were successful shows, but Nirvana in Fire became a cultural phenomenon that showed viewers that Chinese television dramas were capable of achieving the high production standards of their international counterparts. Hu Ge's portrayal of Mei Chang Su became a career-defining performance which earned him acting recognition from the three prestigious television awards organizations in China. He was nominated Best Actor at the 30th Flying Apsaras Awards, won the Magnolia Best Actor award at the 22nd Shanghai Television Festival and won both the Best Actor and Most Popular Actor awards at the 11th China TV Golden Eagle awards.  At the 2015 China TV Drama Awards, Hu Ge not only won the Best Actor award but all three of his works were listed among the top ten most influential television dramas of the year.

Ming Tai (The Disguiser)
In the scene where Ming Tai jumps from one rooftop to another, Hu Ge insisted on doing the dangerous stunt himself so that the sequence would look more authentic.
Mei Chang Su (Nirvana in Fire)
The most challenging part of playing this character for Hu Ge was the sheer amount of lines, a lot of it being classical Chinese, and the need to show his inner thoughts and emotions. Hu Ge spent most of his sleeping hours and meal times memorizing his lines.

Hu Ge's career in television has been nothing short of impressive with a list of dramas that have won acclaim from critics and popularity with the general audience, sometimes both at the same time. At the point of writing, Hu Ge is the actor with the third-highest number of works that have been entered into China's Anthology of TV dramas, a selection of influential media decided by the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of China. His selected dramas are The Myth, Shangri-La, Life Revelation, 49 Days Sacrifice, The Disguiser, Nirvana in Fire, Good Times and Game of Hunting, for which he was nominated for the Magnolia Best Actor award at the 24th Shanghai Television Festival.

T H E    S I N G E R

Hu Ge has released three albums, each of them featuring original songs as well as selected theme songs of television dramas and online games. He has also sung at various live events such as spring festivals and awards ceremonies.

Original Songs
AlbumSongs
Appreciate 珍惜
released 2006-10-25
  • Yu Dao Yi Ge Hao Ren
  • Hua Xiang
Starting a Journey 出发
released 2008-05-12
  • Ji Dian Che De Ri Zi
  • Qu Ai Ba
  • Chuan Wen
  • Di Yu Tian
  • Bu Wan Mei
  • Wei Zi Ji Jiao Ao
  • Yi Ge Ren De Hai An
  • Ta De Yan Jing Hui Xia Yu
Blue Ray 蓝光
released 2010-07-02
  • Lan Guang
  • You Yi Zhong Ge
TV Drama Theme Songs
  • Xiao Yao Tan (Chinese Paladin)
  • Liu Yue De Yu (Chinese Paladin)
  • Tian Liang Yi Hou (The Little Fairy)
  • Yue Guang (The Little Fairy)
  • Ai Ni Bu Hui Bian (Do Not Love Me)
  • Yi Ke Yong Yuan (Do Not Love Me)
  • Gao Su Ta Wo Ai Ta (The Young Warriors)
  • Wu Yun Ran (Legend of the Condor Heroes)
  • Wang Ji Shi Jian (Chinese Paladin 3)
  • Guang Gun (Chinese Paladin 3)
  • Mei Li De Shen Hua (The Myth)
  • Tian Di Mei Hua Kai (The Vigilantes in Masks)
  • Yi Nian Zhi Zhuo (Scarlet Heart)
  • Gao Shou (Unbeatable)
  • Yi Wen Tian Huang (Xuan Yuan Sword: Scar of the Sky)
  • Zhi Wen (Xuan Yuan Sword: Scar of the Sky)
  • Yi Pian Gu Shi (Refresh 3+7)
  • Hao Hao Guo (Sound of the Desert)
  • Feng Qi Shi (Nirvana in Fire)
  • Sheng Kai (Game of Hunting)
Game Theme Songs
  • Gan Bu Gan Ai (Meng Huan Zhu Xian)
  • Wo Bu Zuo Ying Xiong (Dreaming of Deer and Cauldron)

Due to his inability to focus on both singing and acting at the same time, Hu Ge never seriously pursued a music career much to the disappointment of his vocal coach. He has also mentioned before that he often feels nervous when singing because of a lack of practice. However, Hu Ge has shown to have a knack of being able to sing in different styles besides the pop themes of television dramas.

As an example, here are three different singing performances:

  • Hu Ge and Dong Li Ya sang a Shanbei folk song Yi Dui Dui Yuan Yang Shui Shang Piao at the 2016 China Federation of Literary and Art Circles delegation 
  • Hu Ge sang the Italian song 'O Sole Mio in a classical style of singing at the 2016 Shanghai City Official Spring Festival event
  • Hu Ge sang Ni Shi Zhe Yang De Ren as a tribute to the veteran actors at the 2017 China Television Quality awards
T H E    E N D O R S E M E N T S

Hu Ge has advertised for a wide variety of brands such as Sony, Coca Cola, Chanel, China Eastern Airlines and Cadillac. Currently, his most prominent endorsements are for the clothing line Emporio Armani and watch brand Piaget. In 2016, he was appointed the tourism ambassador for Shanghai, participating in numerous activities to promote interest in the city locally and abroad.

Hu Ge is the face of Emporio Armani in China and the Asia Pacific region.
Hu Ge is the first Chinese celebrity to become Piaget's global brand ambassador.

In addition to his commercial, promotional activities, Hu Ge is also active in charity work, particularly those relating to children's welfare, and increasing public awareness of environmental issues such as the Green River Environmental Protection initiative in the Sichuan Province. In 2013, he became the guardian ambassador to the bar-headed goose and took part in volunteer work in western China to promote the protection of the environment as a way of safeguarding the bird species.

T H E    S I L V E R    S C R E E N

Hu Ge has had small parts in several films before, but it was not until after his brief hiatus in 2018 that he made a serious step into the film world. After Game of Hunting, Hu Ge had not accepted any scripts as none caught his attention and he thought of stepping away from the spotlight to further his studies in the United States. It was during this hiatus that he was approached by the film director Diao Yi Nan who would offer him his very first leading role in a film.

In 2019, Hu Ge returned to the screen with two films: The Wild Goose Lake and The Climbers. Diao Yi Nan's The Wild Goose Lake was shortlisted for competition at the 72nd Cannes International Film Festival where it was screened for the first time to an audience together with the director and cast members. Hu Ge had never attended such a prestigious film festival before, and he described it as an exciting and emotional experience as The Wild Goose Lake garnered a standing ovation at the end of the screening, not to mention that Quentin Tarantino was among the audience applauding.


Hu Ge's story is definitely not over yet! If you've made it this far, I hope you have learned something new about this remarkable actor and are now interested to see what else he has in store like I am.

Thank you for reading!

Sources: Baidu, Wiki (Chinese), The Reader (video), Vogue film event (video)


What do you think of Hu Ge?
Which of Hu Ge's dramas is your favourite?
Do you like his songs?

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