Ye Jian Wei on His Humble Beginnings and His First Role in Legend of Shaolin Kungfu

叶剑卫 Ye Jian Wei was born in Jiangsu in 1983 on January 25. When he was only 10, when kids at this age live an insouciant life, Ye Jian Wei was already helping out at his father’s shop. Owing to jealousy from people of the same trade, his father’s shop often got smashed. Seeing the burdened look on his father’s face daily, a thought struck Ye Jianwei – to start training in martial arts. And that was how it all started.

Walking on the path of wushu is by no a bed of roses. In the first few years, Ye Jian Wei had struggled, had given up, had worked hard, had grown weary. Yet every time he was shaken, it seemed that there was no more reason for him to live on. And because of such a simple reasoning, he continued on this path till today. Without any goals in life, a person would become soulless.

All the honours and awards he garnered subsequently indicated that he had not made a wrong choice. He was the champion at Jiangsu wushu competitions in swordplay, spear, Southern Fist, as well as coming in first in Praying Mantis Boxing on national level. He also took up lion dancing during his fourth year at Beijing University of Sports, winning a gold medal at national lion dance competition in 2006.

In May 2006, he inadvertently overheard his classmates that a director was coming over to their institute to do casting. He was equally curious as he was interested, and it was that fateful day that changed his life. He squeezed in among the crowds. The atmosphere was very tense. Eventually, the dark horse shattered everyone who was present and was chosen to play third disciple Hui Nu, a forthright, brash, impatient, easily agitated person, in Legend of Shaolin Kungfu.

To an ordinary person in the street, actors lead a very luxurious and comfortable life. It’s only after entering this big family did Ye Jian Wei come to know how tough an actor’s job can be. In one scene, Anthony Wong had him tied up with a thick hemp rope and suspended in the air.

To shoot this scene, he was suspended for 3 to 4 hours. When he was put down, his body was covered in bruises left by the rope. As the director Du Xiao is especially particular about quality, Ye Jian Wen was once again hung up. He became aware of the hardships of an actor thanks to the feeling of tortured. Secretly, he shed tears for the first time. This incident made him stronger and more mature, and be less mindful about sufferings.

Just as every action has an equal and opposite reaction, there are also the brighter, more cheerful, more touching sides to living in such a big family. In one scene, the few Shaolin disciples had to jump into the river – one that was freezing cold, chilling to the bone. Their teeth were all chattering with cold when they got out, and their lips were turning purplish. Every time they got on the shore, the wardrobe department would hand them dry towels and clothes, while the others would bring them warm ginger soup. Such kind gestures really warmed the cockles of their hearts, despite the external chill.

Ye Jian Wei has learned, has benefited greatly from the director, from this big family, this production of Legend of Shaolin Kungfu, giving him a new meaning in life. No matter how tiring and tough it is, there are also joys that others won’t be able to appreciate. Ye Jian Wei hopes that through Legend of Shaolin Kungu, he would be able to develop his career in the entertainment industry, getting chances to shoot more great productions. He also hopes that everyone would like him.  Photos: Sina


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