Zhang Jinlai (Liu Xiao Ling Tong) poses next to his wax figure at the Madame Tussauds in Beijing on April 29, 2015. Photo: VCG
60-year-old Zhang Jinlai, the classic Monkey King for lots of Chinese people, announced on Monday that he will reenact the movie version of Monkey King.
Better known by his stage name Liu Xiao Ling Tong, Zhang’s announcement of his return to the big screen got some Chinese netizens excited, but also sparked some opposition on social media.
Zhang played the role of Monkey King in the 1986 classic TV series Journey to the West and its later 2000 sequel, which have been recounted in the memories of Chinese netizens.
“My happiest time of the day was when I sat in front of the TV and watched Journey to the West with my parents after dinner,” commented one netizen on Sina Weibo.
The new movie, also called Journey to the West, is directed by Han Yan, director of Animal World, and will use the technology of motion capture to finish the Monkey King’s filming.
“Monkey King is the earliest hero in my mind and I grew up with him,” Han said when asked on social media why he shot the film about the mythological figure.
“Only Liu Xiao Ling Tong deserves the title of Monkey King,” wrote another netizen.
Many netizens said that they will support the movie when it is released to “pay tribute to this classic from their younger years.”
However, some netizens worried that Zhang is unfit for high-intensity filming at his age. “He should take care of his health,” a Sina Weibo user commented.
Zhang’s compelling performance in Journey to the West was greatly praised by critics and helped him win the Best Actor award at the sixth Golden Eagle Awards in 1988.