Ying Zheng who would later be known as Emperor Qin Shihuang was a great figure in Chinese history, arguably one of the best known emperors China has ever seen. Under his rule, China was unified. He standarized the currency and units of measurement, constructed a vast network of roads and canals to facilitate transport, strengthened the economy, built the Great Wall and unified the Chinese script that was in use at the time.
For all the good Ying Zheng has done for China, you would think that he would be a benevolent ruler, but reality is much harsher. Ying Zheng was seen as tyrannical and authoritarian. It’s a very intriguing character to play by design, and there have been at least more than a dozen actors who have played the role in television history. Here are two young actors who have played Qin Shi Huang recently and one that we will always consider to be a classic.
Thomas Tong Mengshi played young Ying Zheng in The Legend Of Hao Lan which has recently finished airing. Breaking into the business within the last few years, the 26-year-old Thomas appeared in the latter part of the story as the grown son of Hao Lan.
Viewers seem content with his portrayal of a good natured Ying Zheng as Thomas can be charming and has good looks to boot. Ying Zheng is often portrayed in media as a young man that goes through layers of character development to become the ruler that he’s known for in history. While the accomplishments of Ying Zheng in this drama were narrated at the ending, Thomas had to capture the ruthless side of the character many times which led to mixed feelings as some found his acting to be too much.
Vin Zhang Binbin, also 26 years old this year, played Ying Zheng in the 2017 drama The King’s Woman. Vin has won over the hearts of many with his portrayals of tortured characters. His Ying Zheng was shown to have a kinder and romantic side that you can’t help but fall for. His Ying Zheng was undoubtedly handsome as he had both the looks and the stature befitting an emperor, that is until the character became the ruthless ruler that he is meant to be.
Raymond Lam‘s version of Ying Zheng in the 2001 drama A Step Into The Past has become a classic representation of the Qin’s first Emperor and many people think that it is difficult to top. The actor is turning 40 this year though he was only 21 when he played the young Ying Zheng who was weak and cowardly at first but turns fierce and deadly after he gains power. It’ve been almost twenty years, but he continues to be remembered for the role. He may just reprise his role soon in a new movie with Louis Koo and Jessica Hsuan.
Honestly, none of these three are even closed to being able to act the role. They are lacking in many ways…. The best Ying Zheng I watched are by Tony Liu(1989) and Zhang Fenyi(2001). It is such a shame, the recent young pretty face actors do not have the manliness, mesmerisms and screen presence to portray this Great Emperor.
Raymond Lam's portrayal as Emperor Qin is memorable. You can feel him change over the time and show how he become the first emperor of China.
Despite being so young, and quite new…. I thought Bin Bin portrayed of Ying Zheng was freaking amazing. He got that strong presence and charisma that demand attention whenever he enters the screen. Although King Qin was so crude, u can’t help but emphasize him. Bin Bin was just that good.