Among the many young actors in China, Tong Dawei has one of the largest fanbases, popular with teenagers and housewives alike for his boy-next-door image.
Describing himself as quiet and easygoing, Tong comes from an industrial town in north-east China. Originally a business student, he was later accepted into the Shanghai Drama Academy, the second most famous drama school in China.
He started out in television in 1998, but it was the 2002 TV drama Goddess Of Mercy that made Tong a household name across China and elevated him to A-list TV status. The drama also created his screen image as a sincere good guy.
The actor's film career began to take off in 2001 when he played a thief in director Teng Huatao's 100.
He then starred in romance dramas such as Sky Of Love, also directed by Teng, Double Dating, directed by Ah Gan, and Zhang Yuan's I Love You with actress/film-maker Xu Jinglei, in which he plays her boyfriend.
The actor then played against type as a poor immigrant worker in Li Yu's
Lost In Beijing, which was very well-received at the Berlinale this year and won an honorable mention at the Tribeca Film Festival. Director Li Yu attributes the awards to the performances of both Tong and his popular co-star Fan Bingbing.
'I believe that through acting I can get hold of some truth of life,' says Tong, whose schedule is becoming increasingly busy. As well as continuing to work on TV dramas, and releasing his first record, he has also started to work with more international film-makers.
He took a leading role in Stanley Tong's Volunteer, playing a teacher voluntarily transferring to Yunnan to work with the poor. He also stars in John Woo's Red Cliff, playing a young and valiant soldier.
'My idol is Tony Leung Chiu-wai,' Tong says. 'I hope I can be like him - someone who excels in both commercial and arthouse films.'
Contact: Chengtian Entertainment, (82) 2 540 3369
Lost In Beijing (2006)
Dir: Li Yu
Double Dating (2003)
Dir: Ah Gan
Sky Of Love (2003)
Dir: Teng Huatao
I Love You (2002)
Dir: Zhang Yuan
One Hundred (2001)
Dir: Teng Huatao
Red Cliff (2008)
Dir: John Woo