Lin Gengxin is a Chinese film and TV actor known for his roles in films like ‘My Old Classmate’ and ‘Sword Master’. Born and brought up in Liaoning, China, he was a shy kid and breaking into acting was sort of a tough deal for him. But his intensive experience in the theatre studies acted as his saviour and he turned out to become a pretty fine performer. He rose to prominence with the drama ‘Scarlet Heart’, where he played one of the major roles as a prince, and the success with the series paved way to further more interesting roles in TV and films. The drama ‘Xuan-Yuan Sword: Scar of Sky’, which was telecast in 2012, became one of the highest grossing series’ of the year. His film ‘Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon’ became a big deal nationally and internationally and Lin received the award for Best New Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2013. The success continued with the magnificent success of period action drama film ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’. The film became one of the highest grossing Chinese films of all time, and Lin became one of the most bankable young actors of this generation.
Childhood & Early Life
Lin Gengxin was born in Liaoning, China on 13th February 1988. He was a shy kid and received quite a lot of love and warmth from his parents. He never got into troubles at school, or in the streets and this quality made his parents quite proud of him, as recalled by Lin in an interview.
But his shy nature, especially around the girls, made him an introvert and due to that, he got to explore his artistic side more, and acting seemed like a perfect place to explore further that side of his personality and at the high school, he appeared in many different plays, learning the nuances of acting along the way.
Once done with his high school, he moved to Shanghai to join the Shanghai Theatre Academy, and that was where he actually started opening up more. He joined the academy in 2007 and as some of his friends now recall, Lin was a messy person, who never gave enough attention to hygiene and his dorm room would be all messy and disoriented because Lin was lost in his own thoughts most of the time. Due to this behaviour, Lin earned the nickname ‘dog’ in college.
In later interviews, Lin also said that one of the reasons he was shy was due to the fact that he was a person with very low level of self-confidence and that he considered himself ugly and if anyone complemented him on his looks, Lin would think that they were making fun of him.
Lin had already started working during his college and did some low budget films, commercials and a few short films to gain confidence in front of the camera.
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In 2011, his acting career got a kick-start with the drama ‘Scarlet Heart’. The series was a period drama set in the times of Qing dynasty and Lin portrayed the role of Prince Yunti, a military general. This meaty role was followed by another one in the series ‘Xuan-Yuan Sword: Scar of the Sky’. The series became super hit and garnered about 2 billion views during its runtime, making it one of the most commercially successful dramas that year. This early success put Lin on the map with a bang, and then he forayed into the films in 2013.
In 2013, Lin made his mainstream film debut with the film ‘Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon’, which happened to be a mystery drama set in a fantasy land. Lin played the role of Shatuo Zhong, a prison doctor who plays a major part in making the young detective crack the case through his incredible skills as a medical professional. The film was received very well by the audiences and the critics alike, and Lin’s performance won him the first major acting award of his career - the Best New Actor award at that year’s Hong Kong Film Awards.
Although Lin’s career was on the right path, he was mostly playing the supporting roles and was looking for that one major project that would put him in the league of the lead actors. The chance arrived in 2014, with the film ‘My Old Classmate’, a youth romance film. The film became a surprising success and went on to receive several major awards and had a magnificent 4 million attendance in just 3 days of its release.
His career was slowly picking up pace and he appeared in ‘Black & White: The Dawn of Justice’, a film which wasn’t although a major success, but performed better than expected.
But the period action film ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’ took Lin on a massive success high and proved a turning point. The film was set in the post World War 2 times and was based on the successful novel titled ‘Tracks in the Snowy Forest’. Upon its release, the film became one of highest grossing Chinese films of all time and the cast benefitted greatly with the success, making Lin one of the most sought-after ‘full package’ actors working in the industry.
The year 2015 also came with back-to-back successes for the young actor. He first appeared in the drama ‘God of War’, which was based on a novel titled ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’, a period epic. The series premiered in April 2016 and opened up to a warm response from the audience, while the critics gave it an average review.
Lin then went towards something light in nature and did an action-comedy film ‘For a Few Bullets’ and appeared in a heavy martial arts film ‘Sword Master’ after that. But it was the internationally acclaimed director Zhang Yimou’s epic adventure ‘The Great Wall’, which finally made Lin popular internationally. The English language film was a US-China co-production and starred Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal alongside Lin, who played a commander in the film. The film however, turned out to be a moderate box office success.
In 2017, Lin appeared in the fantasy adventure comedy film ‘Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back’, which happened to be the second instalment in Stephen Chow’s ‘Journey to the West Franchise’. Although the film performed above averagely at the box office, the critics weren’t too satisfied with it and the film received mixed reviews.
The TV series ‘Princess Agents’ launched in June 2017 and became a critical and commercial success. The historical drama slowly grew on ratings and is presently the most watched Chinese TV drama of all time.
Lin Gengxin is still a very shy person, and has said that even if he falls in love and gets married to someone, he would love to keep it a secret. Lin also mentioned that he fell in love for the first time at the age of 18, and his parents opposed the match, due to which, he had to breakup with her.
Lin loves cooking and spending time with general public. On his off days, he can be seen sitting alone in cafes or game parlours.