Premiering on September 19, Nirvana In Fire <琅琊榜> features Hu Ge (胡歌), Liu Tao (刘涛), Kai Wang (王凯), and Jonny Chen (陈龙) in the television adaptation of the popular novel by online novelist Hai Yan (海宴).
Nirvana in Fire tells the story of Mei Chang Su (played by Hu Ge), who, having lost all his martial art skills after an epic battle, relies solely on his wits to avenge the betrayal of his father and fellow kinsmen. In the process, he collaborates with many other highly skilled figures whose goals align with his own.
Hu Ge’s Portrayal of Mei Chang Su
Despite his elegant good looks, Hu Ge was initially unable to convey the complex emotions that Mei Chang Su went through. Hu Ge said that after a long heart-to-heart conversation with the director one night, he was finally able to “open up his previously closed self.”
He added that the filming experience has taught him a lot, “I’ve filmed many period dramas in the past, but the characters I played were mostly quite one-dimensional and not very complex. Mei Chang Su is a man who is chronically ill and physically very weak, so when playing him, I could not make many physical gestures or highly dramatic expressions. All of his expressions had to be very subtle and nuanced, so playing him was quite a difficult task.”
Mei Chang Su’s serious injury and subsequent recovery and transformation can be paralleled to Hu Ge’s personal experience of being severely injured in a car accident in 2006, halting work for a year and subsequently recovering from surgery and stepping back into the industry. Asked if Hu Ge’s portrayal of Mei Chang Su was inspired by his own struggles at the time, he said, “Definitely. An actor’s greatest inspiration will always be his life experiences.”
Hu Ge also suffered disfigurement from the accident and had to correct it with surgery. This did not stop him from being more confident in showing his main profile onscreen. He viewed this as basic respect for the acting profession, “You can’t hide or cover it up your whole life. The more you care, the more other people will care. If you’re not bothered by it, no one else will be. The moment you allow all the negative feelings associated with this to take root in your heart, your acting will definitely be adversely affected. I told myself a few years ago that this is something I had to get over, or else I would quit acting.”
Dislikes Intense Romances
Hu Ge was then asked if he preferred filming battle scenes or intimate scenes, both of which can be very intense. In response he said that he did not like anything that was too intense, and preferred a slow buildup. On whether this was a reflection of his views on romance, Hu Ge said candidly, “Yes! When things are too fast, it’s easy to get hurt.” This immediately invited thoughts of Hu Ge’s past romance and high-profile breakup with Jiang Shu Yin (江疏影). Almost as if he read others’ thoughts, Hu Ge immediately added, “I have never been hurt before in love!”
After the closed screening for the Nirvana in Fire was held, many industry insiders praised the drama and said that despite it not being set in any specific period in history, the fictional settings remained convincing. The producers revealed that they had given a lot of thought to the question of whether to place the drama’s settings in a particular time period, but ultimately decided against it. “[Setting the drama in a particular time period] would entail having to make a lot of changes to the original plot, and would, more importantly, be disrespectful to the history of that time period as it would be impossible to fit the plot elements into the time period without significantly altering its history.”
The Cast’s Chemistry
Aside from the compelling storyline, it was evident that the cast member shared great chemistry together. Playing Hu Ge’s love interest in the drama, Liu Tao said flirtatiously, “I don’t want to be in a different team from Hu Ge! I want to be in the same team as him!” Since the press conference was held in Hu Ge’s hometown Shanghai, he replied, “Since you’re a part of my household, you are also a host at this event and not a guest.”
The male stars also demonstrated ample chemistry together, as Hu Ge, Kai, Jonny and Jin Dong (靳东) constantly teased each other onstage. For instance, Kai introduced himself as Hu Ge’s “bosom buddy”. Even Liu Tao remarked, “When Hu Ge and Jin Dong are around each other, they behave just like two little girls, always being very playful and child-like with each other.”
This article is written by Jingles for JayneStars.com.