After making herself known by portraying serious characters in films such as Lust, Caution (2007) and Late Autumn (2010), Tang Wei is expanding her acting territory to comedy.
In her latest film Finding Mr. Right, which co-stars Wu Xiubo, Tang plays Wen Jiajia, a “gold-digger” staying in Seattle temporarily to give birth to the child of her rich, married lover in Beijing. The movie is full of funny misadventures involving the two and in the end the young, innocent Wen finally finds her Mr. Right.
As one of the most popular young Chinese actresses, Tang manages to keep a low profile while maintaining her popularity. When Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, Tang’s 2007 big screen debut, made her a household name, she didn’t bask in the glow.
The film’s nude scenes and the political issues raised led Tang to fade away from the spotlight for a year, during which she visited London and honed her dramatic skills further. She took two theater courses, auditioned for a number of plays and got a role in Shakespeare’s Henry V.
Upon her return to China she acted in five films, but barely promoted them. She has no micro blog or any other social network accounts, yet still her every move is watched. Video clips of her English speech at an awards ceremony in South Korea and her English interview promoting the 2011 martial arts movie Dragon in Cannes, France, were widely viewed online.
Passersby take photos of the star in bookstores, small restaurants and at the theater and post them on the Internet. While her fans praise her mystery and grace, critics say she is just a product of successful “hunger marketing”.
“Stars are like Barbies,” the 34-year-old told China Daily in a recent interview. “People make up their perceptions of a star, just like they put makeup on a Barbie. The ‘star’ Tang Wei is there,” she said. “She has nothing to do with the real me.”
So, what’s the real Tang like?
“Bold, a bit wild and not playing by the rules,” Tang said, referring to a certain similarity with her latest character Wen. “There was one scene in which I shouted loudly after drinking and everybody stopped talking and looked at me in surprise. It felt wonderful because the real me sometimes can give people that kind of surprise.”