Johnny Huang and Xiao Zhan’s military drama Ace Troops 王牌部队 has done quite well in recent weeks. The series may have already ended, but it continues to be talked about online. Xiao Zhan in particular impressed many viewers with his excellent portrayal of Gu Yi Ye despite this being the first time he gets his feet wet in the military genre. In an interview with Peng Pai You Xi 澎湃有戏, Ace Troops director Liu Yan touched upon the reason behind casting him as Gu Yi Ye.
“There is a kind of modesty in him and how he carries himself with a gentleman’s bearing. The look in his eyes is very open and pure, like he can endure hardships which is representative of people in the 80s generation” said the director. Much like his character Gu Yi Ye who wasn’t afraid to put in the work to better himself and to work towards his goal in the story, the director also revealed how the young actor did not hesitate to jump at the opportunity to train with the soldiers and to better connect with his character more.
“In order to prepare himself for the role, Xiao Zhan joined the team ahead of schedule to participate and experience military training life. He went out to exercise with them at 5:30 every day, eating, practising and living with the soldiers 24/7. He also endured intensive training with them under the scorching sun” she added.
It looks like Xiao Zhan’s efforts to truly immerse himself into his character to bring him to life more authentically really paid off. And if he continues to push himself this hard to better his craft, he’ll clearly go far in this industry.