Liu gets to grips with playing Mao

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 September, 2010, 12:00am

For mainland actors, few roles would be more daunting than that of Mao Zedong. Even Golden Horse Awards winner Liu Ye is flustered by the role.

Now shooting The Founding of a Republic, in which he plays the young Mao, Liu said he had to figure out how to deal with the stress of playing the historical personality.

'I would go jogging in the studio and feel better after working up a sweat. I was pretty stressed out for the first couple of days, but now it's getting smoother,' said Liu, 32.

Since there was little documentary footage of the chairman in his younger days, it made his part more difficult. In order to pick up Mao's Shaoshan accent, Liu sought help from a native from the Hunan city. 'I asked him to read all my lines for me. And every day before return to the set, I'll listen to [the recording],' he said.

Besides mastering Mao's broad regional accent, Liu also had to brush up on his calligraphy since the chairman was a keen practitioner. 'I have a big pile of paper to practice calligraphy. Mao-style calligraphy is particularly hard to learn,' he said. 'I also read his biography and began reciting some classical poetry. I just want to get closer to Chairman Mao's abilities.'