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Blame it on ...

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2016-08-22 07:23

Blame it on ...

Li Ruining/China Daily

A movie star, whose meteoric rise gave hope to the masses, has left the public divided with his marital woes.

Wang Baoqiang has filed for divorce. And half of China is said to have an opinion on it-and eagerly expressed it.

That may be an exaggeration. But it is hard to deny that the movie star's family matters threatened to steal the thunder from the Rio Olympics.

Entertainment celebrities are always providing fodder for gossip with their romances and fallouts, but Wang is no ordinary movie star. He is the inspiration for a vast demographic group.

Wang is the most dramatic rags-to-riches story in China's moviedom. He was not trained in any of the acting schools and he does not possess movie-star looks. At the age of 19, he was plucked from the milling crowd in front of Beijing Film Studio by director Li Yang for a small but crucial role in Blind Shaft. While the movie was never officially released in China, it got rave notices internationally and Wang got the attention of director Feng Xiaogang, who cast him in a much higher-profile role in A World Without Thieves the next year.

This blockbuster turned Wang into a household name and he quickly appeared in several television drama series, all of which became hits. Even though the inevitable bombs came later, his hit-and-miss ratio over a 13-year career has been much higher than most A-list stars.

And Wang did it with a Forrest Gump-like serendipity. In almost all his signature roles, he played a simpleton oblivious to worldly complications and treachery, and whose honesty and perseverance eventually led to triumph over all adversities. This persona of the classic Chinese peasant boy is widely reported to be based on the actor himself.

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