Kenny Lin, Chen Xiao, and Shawn Dou Rise to China’s A-List
2017 was a very fruitful year for China’s rising actors Kenny Lin Gengxin (林更新), Chen Xiao (陈晓), and Shawn Dou (窦骁), all who have snagged important roles in critically successful dramas that would guarantee them a bright future ahead.
In 2017, both Kenny and Shawn headlined the uber-successful Princess Agents <楚乔传> alongside Zanilia Zhao Liying(赵丽颖)—the historical action drama went on to become the highest-rated television drama of the year, and is the first Chinese television drama to surpass 40 billion clicks during its run. Chen Xiao, on the other, starred opposite Sun Li (孙俪) in the popular Nothing Cold Can Stay <那年花开月正圆>, which brought his popularity up another notch.
Kenny Lin Takes Things Slow
Much like his Princess Agents costar, Kenny’s debut work was a high-profile release. Portraying the Fourteenth Prince in the cultural hit Scarlet Heart <步步惊心>, Kenny caught the attention of Hong Kong producers such as Tsui Hark (徐克) and Stephen Chow (周星馳), who have casted him in blockbuster films such as Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon <狄仁傑之神都龍王> and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back <西遊伏妖篇>. Despite having a successful film career and winning rookie acting awards, Kenny failed to find a break in his popularity.
With the success of Princess Agents, however, Kenny is getting back into the radar of producers, and rumors are saying that Tsui Hark is eying Kenny to portray Yang Guo in his film version of Return of the Condor Heroes <神鵰俠侶>. Fans are also trying to round up support for Kenny to be considered for a role in Disney’s live-action Mulan, which will be starring Crystal Liu Yifei (刘亦菲).
According to reports, Kenny’s pay was increased to 80 million yuan per drama after appearing in Princess Agents. But with Kenny’s lax attitude towards work, being China’s highest-paid actor doesn’t seem to be his goal. Kenny has said in interviews that he refuses to sacrifice his private life for work, and insists on doing only about one to two acting jobs per year. Nonetheless, Kenny still managed to make it to the 43rd spot in 2017’s Forbes China Celebrity List.
Shawn Dou Finds Success in TV
Like Kenny, Shawn also had a high-profile debut, appearing for the first time in Zhang Yimou’s (张艺谋) Under the Hawthorne Tree <山楂树之恋>. While his costar Zhou Dongyu (周冬雨) went on to become an award-winning actress, Shawn’s own career stagnated. It was Princess Agents, his first television drama, that had put him back on the spotlight.
Shawn’s role in Princess Agents, Yan Xun, was not an easy character to portray. He toys around two extremes, and Yan Xun eventually turns into a villainous character. Nonetheless, the role rounded up a huge fan base, making Shawn one of the most popular rising stars of 2017. Shawn is currently starring in Tribes and Empires: Storm of Prophecy <海上牧云记> and will soon appear in Tears in Heaven <海上繁花>.
Chen Xiao Breaks Out of Idol Realm
Chen Xiao, who made his debut through Yu Zheng (于正) dramas, was best known for starring in the controversial The Romance of the Condor Heroes <神雕侠侣> and being Michelle Chen’s (陳妍希) husband until he snagged a leading role Nothing Gold Can Stay, starring opposite “Queen of Television” Sun Li. Breaking out of the shadows of idol dramas, Chen Xiao’s pay reportedly increased to 50 million yuan per drama after the broadcast of Nothing Cold Can Stay.
There was a rumor that Chen Xiao planned on retiring from showbiz to take care of his wife and son, but the simple response “always walking forward” quickly ended those speculations.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.