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Hou Jingjian reprises Mao role for TV series

Updated: 2023-11-01 11:50 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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Actor Hou Jingjian plays Mao Zedong in the TV series Dadao Xinhuo, which revisits the Communist Party of China's revolutionary years from 1924 to 1935. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Despite the challenge he faced in portraying Chinese leader Mao Zedong, Hou Jingjian found a distinctive way to immerse himself in the role for the popular TV series Dadao Xinhuo (The Great Path with Sparks), he revealed during a recent symposium in Beijing.

Made as a tribute to mark the 130th birth anniversary of the founding father of New China, the 30-episode series begins with Mao traveling to Shanghai to organize the workers' movement in 1924. It chronicles his efforts and those of fellow revolutionists over the course of a decade, and culminates with the Zunyi Conference, which was held in Guizhou province, and which is considered a turning point in the revolution by the Communist Party of China.

Airing on CCTV-1 since mid-September, the series has enjoyed an average rating of 1.461 percent, making it one of the most popular series in the revolutionary genre.

Hou, who previously portrayed Mao in the massive hit The Age of Awakening, said that the new drama provided him with an opportunity to delve deeper into the leader's younger years and learn more about him.

The 700-member crew and cast participated in script discussions for 10 days before beginning to shoot in Ruijin, Jiangxi province, the point from which the Red Army began its Long March in October 1934. Scenes were also shot in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces.

"The people of Jiangxi have a deep affection for the Red Army," said Hou, adding that shooting in Ruijin helped to quickly immerse the actors in the historical backdrop to the series.

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