How Zhang Xincheng Nailed His Gender Swapping Role in “The Day of Becoming You”

Chinese actor Steven Zhang Xincheng (张新成) is making great breakthroughs with his hilarious performance in Chinese rom com, The Day of Becoming You <变成你的那一天>, as a woman trapped inside a man’s body after an unexpected body swapping experience.

Playing the calm and collected popular idol singer Jiang Yi, Zhang Xincheng had the opportunity to bring on his feminine energy as he switched lives with the cute and bright entertainment news reporter, Yu Shengsheng (Liang Jie 梁洁). Despite its cliche trope, viewers could barely resist themselves from laughing at Xincheng’s animated expressions and mannerisms as a female. Garnering strong reviews on Douban and causing a social media flood of meme worthy scenes, Xincheng is teased that he could give actresses a run for their money as he is supported to win the Best Actress award.

His Path in Becoming a “Lady”

Nailing the portrayal of both the male and female gender, Xincheng shared that he initially felt pressured as it would be difficult to imitate Liang Jie, but pointed to the table readings and increased interactions with the actress as being helpful. Since time was tight, he was also concerned he did not prepare enough in crafting his performance,

There was really no need for Xincheng to worry, because viewers loved his version of Yu Shengsheng. It made them wonder how the 25-year-old actor possibly imitated Liang Jie so well. “I didn’t purposely try to imitate. Compared to appearance and actions, I prioritized on thoroughly understanding the inner logic of the character,” he explained.

“I think a good performance is intangible, but it allows you to be very involved. It is not how thoroughly perfect your acting is, but [a good performance] should have elements of ‘surprise, but still be within reason,’” Xincheng said.

Likening character modeling to the human body structure, Xincheng starts at its core, which are its innermost organs. Then, he moves outwards and expands into the making of the skeleton and outer skin layer by layer. Viewers are likely only able to see its finished exterior, Xincheng can deeply connect with the character’s logic since he crafted his performance. Additionally, he would try to put himself in Liang Jie’s shoes, and rationalize her thoughts and actions before portraying it in a sensible manner. 

With the entire process highlighting his logical personality, Xincheng confessed that he had worried his nature was not suitable in the performing arts. He admits that his acting only matured as his sensitivity in life grew, but this would also “take a toll” on his emotions. “I consider it as dealing with the devil to an extent. Like a trade-off, sometimes sacrifices are needed to do what you want.”

Interested in Playing More Comedic Roles

A lover of challenges, Xincheng enjoys exploring new genres to showcase his different sides as an actor. Eager to act in comedy, he believes it is more difficult than what it appears because of the strong sense of rhythm required. If he could perform well and gain wider acknowledgement, he would feel very accomplished.

“The Day of Becoming You” Trailer

Source: QQ

This article is written by Minna for

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  1. Watching this drama right now and Steven Zhang is excellent in his role. Though the body swap plotline is not new in romcom, this drama manage to avoid many cringeworthy scenes like super dumb sidekick as plot device, accidental fall + 360 degree whirling lol and caricature villains. This drama have a lot of punchlines and even took a jab at Chinese entertainment industry. Recommended watch (p.s. up to episode 21 now)

  2. He’s an excellent actor who always delivered. There should be more actor like him in the C-industry.

      1. I’m talking about those liuliang stars. Hope there would be more opportunities to those talented young actors to shine for their acting and not their face

  3. I don’t really like the looks of the female lead, but love gender-bender tropes. Anyone who watched this has any feedback on it?

  4. the guy is indeed pretty good after watching just the trailer. the girl caught my eyes too, she’s got a very nice face shape.

  5. Hmm. Just tried the first few episodes. I don’t know what it is about modern Cdramas, but they feel really cringey. The actor’s acting is good enough and rather believable, but he tends to overact (more or less to match the actress’s personality I think.) I am not sure I will follow thru.

    1. He acts according to the female lead’s character. That’s how her character is like. So that’s not an overact.

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