Childhood & Early Life
Chen Xiao was born in Anhui, China, on July 5, 1987 into a middle class Chinese family. He was a keen enthusiast in performing arts and grew up getting inspired by the actors and the glitz of the film industry. As he grew up, he started performing in his high school productions and in order to take professional training in the field, he moved to Beijing and started taking drama classes at the Central Academy of Drama in 2009.
By that time, he had started giving away auditions and bagged his very first acting role in the film ‘Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame’ in 2010. Before that though, he had played a very small part as a kid in the 1997 series ‘Our Class Song.’
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After making his debut with a small role in a highly successful film such as ‘Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame,’ Chen got a role in the series ‘Happy Mother in Law, Pretty Daughter in Law.’ He played the role of Guo Xiaotian in the series, which was more of a guest appearance.
He carried on in the following few years playing smaller roles in the series’ such as ‘Spell of the Fragrance,’ ‘Hidden Intention’ and ‘Confucius.’ In 2012, he was signed on for the role of Yunxi in the television series ‘Palace II,’ which was a sequel to the 2011 series ‘Palace.’ His small portrayal as the 19th Prince did not go unnoticed and he succeeded in making a solid impact with his performance. The success of the series further contributed in Chen’s popularity.
He further broadened his popularity with solid appearances in the series such as ‘The Qin Empire II: Alliance’ and ‘Swordsman.’ In the latter, he ended up playing one of the main roles as Lin Pingzhi. The series received massively polarized reviews with audience members either hating it or loving it. But somehow, the performances were universally praised and this led Chen to receive the offer for the first leading role of his career.
In the 2013 series ‘The Legend of Lu Zhen,’ Chen played the leading role of Gao Zhen, the love interest of the leading lady played by Zhao Liying. The historical series was well received by the critics and the audiences and was named the 8th best drama of the year 2013 and Chen ended up winning the ‘Actor with Most Potential’ award at the Asia Rainbow Awards. His performance received severe critical acclaim as more offers started raining in on him.
In 2013, he appeared in the leading role in the film ‘The Palace.’ The historical drama film had Chen playing the leading role as Yinxiang and although his performance was well received, the film released to mostly negative reviews from film critics and the audiences.
In 2014, he appeared in a 3D epic action drama film ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’ and played the supporting role as Gao Bo. The film made waves in China and overseas and received critical acclaim from the international critics as well. The film eventually ended up becoming the tenth highest grossing Chinese film of all times.
Riding high on the path-breaking success of his latest film, Chen appeared in the series ‘The Romance of the Condor Heroes’ and played the leading role of Yang Guo. Although the series was admired for the brave subject matter, it was criticized for diverting the story from the original novel of the same name. Apart from acting as the leading man, Chen further contributed to the soundtrack of the series.
In 2015, Chen started in the film ‘Bride Wars,’ a film which was the official remake of the Hollywood film of the same name starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. The film released to a very poor critical and commercial acclaim and is known to be one of the biggest failures of Chen’s career to date.
In the same year, Chen appeared playing one of the major roles in the series ‘Love Yunge from the Desert,’ another colossal failure of his career. The series was heavily criticized for the historical inaccuracies and bad performances. These back to back failures made Chen more concerned about his career and in the following few years, he became additionally choosy about his roles.
In 2015, he appeared in the series ‘The Three Heroes and Five Gallants,’ which was a major critical and commercial success. The series was based on the novel of the same name and was internationally praised for its solid themes and performances. Chen’s leading role of Bai Yutang received many accolades and he ended up winning the Best Actor Award at the Huading Awards.
In 2016, Chen appeared in a coming of age comedy drama film titled ‘Who Sleeps my Bro’ and played the leading role in it. The film received some average reviews, but was praised for its action and it also opened to some pretty good box office numbers in China.
In 2017, Chen played one of the leading roles in the suspense thriller film ‘The Mysterious Family’ which was based on a true crime incident that took place in Fujian and was received well by the critics. The film ended up making decent profits in China and Taiwan.
In the same year, he played the leading role as Ren Bishi in the film ‘The Founding of an Army.’ The political drama film was made for the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Chinese Liberation Army. The film is yet another example of Chinese propagandas as several critic websites have closed down the ratings meter for the film.
In 2017, Chen appeared in several TV series’ such as ‘Love & Life & Lie,’ ‘Above the Clouds’ and ‘Wild Rose.’ He also appeared playing the leading role in the series ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ and played the role of a happy go lucky young master who decides to change his ways to become more associated with the contemporary world.
In 2018, Chen is all set to play the leading role of Yang Jian, the founding Emperor of Sui Dynasty in the series ‘Queen Dugu.’